Key Battles for Packers at Vikings

The Packers head to Minnesota and Andrew Garda has three battles you'll want to keep an eye on this week.

The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings both came away with wins last weekend, but one was a tad less disturbing than the other.

When you scrape by the Titans and have to turn to Sam Bradford—two weeks into learning the system—it’s nothing but concerning. Mind you, if the only play Bradford knows is “run to the fire hydrant and turn left towards the yellow line in the street” then it’s an improvement over Shaun Hill.

The Packers can’t take this game lightly though, as the Vikings will be hyped up to open their new stadium and still have a solid defense and a great running back in Adrian Peterson.

So here are three key battles the Packers (and the fans) should focus on.

Contain Adrian Peterson

The Titans did a nice job of bottling Adrian Peterson up last week, stacking the box because they knew Shaun Hill was not much of a threat throwing the ball. Sam Bradford is a more potent danger (more on him shortly) but the key will still be unhinging Peterson’s day.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner loves to use Peterson as often as possible, and he’s going to want to keep the pressure off Bradford with an effective run game. The Packers can’t abandon the pass the way Tennessee did at times, but they can stack the box when Peterson is in the game—an almost sure sign he’s running the rock.

Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Jake Ryan—we’re looking at you.

If Peterson struggles as he did last week, that makes the next part of the plan easier.

Pressure Bradford

No matter how much he’s read the gameplan, Sam Bradford is still going to have a limited amount of options. His head may be swimming with his 4,135th offensive scheme and so we can imagine the Vikings will try to avoid overwhelming him.

Which means getting a hand on him early and often is critical.

More than anyone last week, I was disappointed in Clay Matthews. As Pro Football Focus pointed out in their game grades, Matthews had just two pressures and missed a few tackles. I can’t imagine that will happen again, especially against a shaky offensive line like the Vikings have. Matthews is one of the keys to getting at Bradford though, and he has to bounce back this week.

The secondary needs to be a bit more consistent as well, in order to give the pass rush time to get after Bradford. Damarious Randall looked really good last week, and hopefully he will keep it up.  Sam Shields needs to pick it up a bit though, and Morgan Burnett really has to get better as at times he looked really bad.

If the secondary can hold the receivers and the outside pass rushers can get home, Bradford is going to have problems in his progressions and the offense should ground to a halt.

Get Lacy going

Offensively, there isn’t much to dislike about the Packers. Yes, Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers need to get a little more in sync and sure, we’d like to see Davante Adams be consistent for more than two plays, but mostly the offense is fine.

What I do think is important is to get Eddie Lacy going early. I thought 14 carries was less than ideal for him, and had he had a full complement of carries, his 4.4 yards per carry would have made quite an impact.

The Vikings offense might be shaky, but the defense is quite good against both the pass and run games. You want to wear them down, and wear them out. While you will absolutely throw the ball even with the secondary the Vikings have (after all, you have Aaron FREAKING Rodgers), attacking the front seven with a big back like Lacy will make things easier—and keep the defense honest—towards the end of the game.

I think this could be a big game for Lacy and the offense. Get him started early, and this could turn into a blowout in the fourth quarter.

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Comments (15)

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

September 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Run it early and often. Pepper in a few pass plays but get to the Vikings D early, score a lot and we win this game.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 17, 2016 at 07:30 am

I think the only true battle is the Packers against themselves.

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Burton Whitlow's picture

September 16, 2016 at 01:42 pm

It gets a little easier with Flyold and Rhodes out - get Eddie going and for the love of God.... Please scrap the toss sweep! Maybe throw in a few screens and Cook over the middle.... Go Pack Go!

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Spud Rapids's picture

September 16, 2016 at 01:47 pm

I think they need to attack the offense of the Vikings... Bradford isn't exceptionally mobile and I'm not worried about Digs taking the top off the defense.

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zoellner25's picture

September 16, 2016 at 02:00 pm

Just avoid Harrison Smith and we should win by a TD or more. Bradford has proven he is terrible under pressure, and Capers is just the guy to do it.

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dobber's picture

September 16, 2016 at 02:26 pm

Xavier Rhodes is looking like he's not going to play, so the Packer WR should have a plus matchup in the secondary if the OL can keep ARod clean.

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zerotolerance's picture

September 16, 2016 at 05:25 pm

Cow????

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ray nichkee's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:53 am

It is cow, the man of 10,000 dislikes.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 16, 2016 at 03:36 pm

I agree with what most of the folks are saying around here. Blitz Bradford early and often.

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Lphill's picture

September 16, 2016 at 04:24 pm

Rodgers likes the big stage , perfect weather conditions , I think Rodgers gets in a groove and everything else falls into place to earn the first win in their new house , it's every Vikings fan nightmare , a blowout would cause a national day of morning on Monday.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 16, 2016 at 04:59 pm

Clay came out on fire last week and cooled off. He just needs to keep it going and our defense will be fine. Aarow is definitely pointing up for the defense...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 16, 2016 at 07:49 pm

Tretter vs. Linval Joseph.

Find out if CM3 is even a red chipper still. Same for Peppers.

See if we can save at least 2 timeouts until near the end of the half and near the end of the fourth quarter.

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Rossonero's picture

September 17, 2016 at 12:27 pm

With Sharrif Floyd out, the Packers must exploit his back-up, 32 year old Tom Johnson, and pound the ball with Eddie Lacy.

Johnson is a career back-up who's never played extensively when he spent 3 years with the Saints. He did start 8 games last year for the Vikings though.

With Xavier Rhodes out, I'm looking for the Packers to cause match up problems with a far deeper WR group. The Vikings have terrific LBs though and Eric Kendricks will probably follow Jared Cook around.

On the flip side, with Shields out, it's go time for Quentin Rollins and Ladarius Gunter. Charles Johnson is ok, Stefan Diggs is the one that Demarious Randall will hopefully be covering. Otherwise, stack the box and shut down AP.

The noise will be a factor for sure, so silent counts and no false starts are critical. Packers 31, Vikings 24.

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L's picture

September 17, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Who will R.Cobb draw coverage from in the slot? He's struggled against the Vikings the last 4 match-ups and I'm wondering if the Rhodes injury will actually allow him to gain a favorable match-up this Sunday that the team will attempt to find ways to exploit. They've already looked to find some creative ways to get the ball into Cobb's hands in Week 1, so I think that'll be a trend that continues to develops throughout the season.

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Allan Murphy's picture

September 17, 2016 at 08:34 pm

Clay was quit last game i think he wants to wake some Vikings up with some sacks ..............

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