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Packers Periscope: Week 6 vs. Minnesota Vikings

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Packers Periscope: Week 6 vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Green Bay Packers hit the road again in week six and face the Minnesota Vikings.  U.S. Bank Stadium was christened last season with the Packers getting the honor of being Minnesota's first opponent in their new digs.  The Vikings started with a bang and handed the Packers their first loss of the year.  Green Bay will look to reverse that fortune on Sunday.

There's some juice added to the story line of this game as the Packers will be playing on the same field that will host Super Bowl LII in early February.  Green Bay entered this season as an early favorite to appear in that game and, after five weeks, are 4-1 and still very much on track to reach that goal.

As a former Minnesota resident, I can assure you that the entire city will melt if the Packers so much as earn the right to play in the Big Game, let alone win in their precious home town.  Why not give the home fans a little extra scare ahead of Halloween?  On to the snippets in the Packers-Vikings series.

The Past

The Packers hold the edge all-time with a mark of 60-51-2 and have won four of the last six meetings.  The last time these teams met was on Christmas Eve when the Packers emphatically ended the Vikings' playoff hopes with a 38-25 win at Lambeau Field.  A Merry Christmas, indeed.

The series began in 1961 and the Packers won the first six meetings between the teams and nine of the first 10.  The teams have largely traded blows throughout the years with a few memorable moments tossed in.

There was the 1989 season when the Vikings sent a bunch of draft picks to the Dallas Cowboys for running back Herschel Walker.  Walker debuted against the Packers and played a big role in a Vikings win that day.  That was the first and last big moment Walker had with the team. 

The Cowboys, on the other hand, went on to build a team that would win three championships over a four year span so in a way, the Vikings were responsible for all of those gut-wrenching losses to Dallas in the 1990's.

In 1998, the defending NFC champion Packers were looking to atone for a rough Super Bowl loss the year prior and on their way until a reloaded Vikings team came to Green Bay on a Monday night.  Rookie receiver Randy Moss had his coming out party and the Vikings handed the Packers their first home loss in nearly three years.

Who can forget the famous Monday night game in 2000 when a late Brett Favre pass that should have been intercepted bounced around off of receiver Antonio Freeman's feet before falling into his hands.  Freeman ran the ball in for the winning touchdown in overtime as ABC's Al Michael's said 'He did WHAT?!"

Following the 2004 season, the Vikings came to Lambeau Field in the first-ever postseason match up between the two teams and sent the Packers home with the image of Moss fake mooning the crowd after scoring a touchdown in that game.

In 2007 and in Minnesota, Favre broke the all-time touchdown pass record against the Vikings and surpassed Dan Marino.  Peyton Manning would knock off Favre's record total a few years later.

2009 speaks for itself when Favre donned the purple and yellow and beat the Packers both times that season.  Green Bay exacted revenge in 2010, winning both meetings and eventually winning Super Bowl XLV.  Quick reminder that the Vikings are still searching for their first Big win.

The Vikings got a big win over the Packers to end the 2015 season and clinch the NFC North and, as mentioned the Packers knocked Minnesota out of contention with a December win last season.  

The Present

The current rivalry between these teams is alive and well.  Despite individual records, the games between these teams tend to be competitive in recent years (and since Christian Ponder left Minnesota).  

The Vikings hold a 3-2 record after beating the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.  Minnesota will have one less day to rest and prepare for the Packers.  The Packers are 4-1 and coming off of a huge road win over the Cowboys.

Minnesota's strength is their defense, currently ranked eighth in the league in points allowed per game with 18.6.  The Packers come in at 20th with 22.4 points per game allowed. 

The Packers are hopeful to have left offensive tackle David Bakhtiari back for this game for the first time since opening week.  Minnesota's defensive end Everson Griffen is one of the best in the league and would pose a big problem in pass protection for the Packers if they don't have their preferred left tackle.  Bakhtiari's return would give Green Bay their entire preferred starting offensive line.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson suffered what is labeled as a back injury against Dallas.  He has practiced this week and looks to play against the Vikings.  Nelson will likely see a healthy dose of Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has forged his reputation as one of the best in the NFL. 

That means whoever is left (ahem, Trae Waynes, Terrance Newman) gets Davante Adams who charged back from a concussion in week four with a two-touchdown game including the game-winner in Dallas.  Good luck!

The Packers defense may be without rookie corner Kevin King who left the Dallas game early with a concussion.  King's absence would force more snaps for Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, both of whom have had their struggles so far in this young season.

Minnesota is already without stud running back Dalvin Cook and will be closely monitoring the status of top receiver Steffon Diggs.  Diggs did not practice on Wednesday with a groin injury.  Diggs' absence would be a big one for the Vikings.

In Minnesota's win over the Bears, quarterback Sam Bradford was pulled in favor of Case Keenum, who led the Vikings to a road win in that game.  Keenum also put up good numbers in the two weeks prior against the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

It would seem likely that the Vikings would ride Keenum's hot hand against Green Bay and with Bradford still nursing a knee injury but it's the Vikings we're talking about so who knows.  Aaron Rodgers will definitely be at quarterback for the Packers and, regardless of who his counterpart is on Sunday, is a big mismatch in favor of the Pack.

But it's another Aaron that most eyes will be on as Aaron Jones looks to follow up a magnificent performance against the Cowboys last week.  Jones ran for 125 yards in relief of Ty Montgomery, who is still dealing with cracked ribs.  Montgomery's status was unknown as of the time this was written so look for a healthy does of Jones again this week.

The Future

The Packers are on a roll and pushed hard to get as many key players on the field last week as they could.  This is another big road game and opportunity to further-solidify their case as one of the best teams in the NFC.  

Rodgers has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the league this year, save for Arizona's Carson Palmer.  The rotating offensive line has been a big reason why but it's no secret that opposing defenses are doing anything they can to get Rodgers off his spot.  Getting Aaron Jones going early will help alleviate the incoming fire.

Last week, Rodgers was able to escape pressure and scamper for a long first-down run late in the game to help set up the winning score.  Minnesota's front is athletic and quick so the Packers quarterback will have his work cut out for him trying to create running room.

With Cook out, the Vikings will try to throw their way to a win.  Packers safety Morgan Burnett left last week's game with a hamstring injury and did not return.  Green Bay will likely counter with more snaps for rookie Josh Jones.  Jones has had some issues in coverage so far so this is an area to watch.

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is a match up problem for any defender.  The Packers don't really have anyone who can go toe-to-toe with him so I'd expect a bigger day than usual for Rudolph.  

That all becomes moot if the Packers can generate steady pressure up front.  Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks didn't practice earlier this week with a back injury and his absence would move Clay Matthews back outside in more of a pure pass rush role.  Matthews spent a fair amount of time in the middle last week, where his versatility is a bigger asset to the Green Bay defense.

The return of Mike Daniels and the emergence of Kenny Clark up front should help the Packers get a push and make things more difficult for the Vikings quarterback-to-be.

On the Vikings side, safety Andrew Sendejo is dealing with a groin injury but if he can play, you can be assured he'll have at least one flag-worthy hit in this game that may or may not be called.  The hard-hitting safety has established himself as a thumper in the defensive backfield but he's also one who should have a standing appointment with the FedEx driver every Monday (fine notifications are delivered this way each week).

It's a home game for the Vikings and they have a very good defense.  That's usually a winning combination but the Packers have too much going for them right now.  Barring a loss in the turnover battle, I like the Packers to win their fourth-straight.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (9) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lphill's picture

Case Keenum is no joke , holds records in college football , I don't understand how he was not drafted .the Vikings defense did not look that great against the Bears , if Trubisky does not have the 2 turnovers it's possible the Bears would have won that game .the Packers must score early and often because Keenum will pick apart Randall .

dobber's picture

Keenum has run hot and cold this season, which is about what you'd expect for a guy who gets sporadic play time. They need to pressure him early and get his nervous feet going.

flackcatcher's picture

This is a division game. Throw out everything you think you know. Both teams know their strengths and their weakness, leaving to close games. No secrets here. Packers should win, but division games have some weird X factor not normally seen that show up. One thing I know, this will be like the Bears game, a rock em sock em affair. Welcome back, black and blue.

Nick Perry's picture

Last season in week 2 Diggs tore Randall apart and that was BEFORE Randall had a groin injury. Whether it's Randall, Rollins, or Hawkins they'll need to slow him down. If Burnett doesn't play that's concerning because he gets em all lined up. Last year the Vikings scored on long pass plays. This year the Packers haven't been toasted much on long balls, hopefully that continues.

REST Montgomery! The Vikings defense is fast and they hit. Nobody would like to see Monty back there more than myself simply because it opens up the entire playbook and obviously the Packers are better with him in the line-up. But Jones brings quite a bit to the offense as well. His success wasn't just because he was playing against the Dallas defense. Jones is both quick and fast but his vision and patience is what I really like about him. On that fast surface against a fast defense Jones decisive cuts and quickness will make the difference between a 1 yard run and 4 or 5 yard runs.

Packers 27 Vikings 16

croatpackfan's picture

Stefone Diggs may not play for the groin injury. If he will play, he will be limited by that injury. It is simple as that...

Regarding Ty, I agree completely. Lets Aaron did his part of the job and lets look what we have in Devante Mays!

Since '61's picture

I was unable to watch the entire Bears/Vikings game but from what I did see the Vikings offense looked completely disjointed. Trubisky handed the game to the Vikes with a late pick deep in Bears territory or the Bears may have won that game late or in OT.

In any case, we can expect the Queens defense to be tough on their home field. However, they have only game worth of tape on Aaron Jones and if we can get him going early the Vikings will be thinking twice about rushing A. Rodgers very hard. We need our quick passing game here and I would like to see both Bennett and Kendricks more involved especially early in this game.

Our defense needs to play solid again this week. BTW if you minus the 14 points scored on turnover returns versus the Pack the Packers defense has allowed 19.6 points per game, only one more point per game than the ViQueens defense. 98 total points allowed by Packers defense versus 93 points allowed by the Vikes.

Keep Keenum in the pocket and he'll make a few mistakes along the way. Hold the Viqueens to under 20 points and Rodgers will do the rest.

Go Pack Go. Thanks, Since '61

A Pickled Packer's picture

Nice comprehensive article and posts, but I have to get this off my chest, " U.S. Bank Stadium was christened last season", shouldn't it be called Vikings Stadium or Bud Grant Field? Did US Bank foot the bill, no, the tax payers did, so why are we naming our stadiums after corporations unless they paid to build it. Imagine renaming Lambeau Field after a beer company. It's a disgrace. Rant over, post complete. Thank you.

shystr's picture

U.S. Bank did pay for the naming rights, reported $220 million for twenty years, which was something in the range of 20% the total cost of the facility.
http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/us_bank_puts_name_to_new_vikings_stadium

porupack's picture

Oh...and "christened" is a religious term. Has the stadium been blessed, or something? Kind of demeaning a term.
How about 'inaugurated'?

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