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Why the Packers Will Beat the Vikings and Why They Might Not

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Why the Packers Will Beat the Vikings and Why They Might Not

The Green Bay Packers got a dramatic and important win on the road last week against the Dallas Cowboys. But this week, in Minnesota, the Packers face an even bigger game, on the road, against a division opponent.

The Packers come into the game at 4-1, the Vikings are 3-2. A win would give Green Bay a little separation in the standings, as well as a road win in the division, which is always important.

Minnesota may be without starting quarterback Sam Bradford and top wideout Stefon Diggs, but the Vikings still have weapons. And they still have one of the best defenses in all of pro football.

On the other hand, the Packers are getting healthier, although, it appears that David Bakhtiari will miss another start due to his hamstring injury. Good thing the Packers are used managing injuries and shuffling the offensive line, which has had five different starting combinations in five games.

With all that in mind, here are a few reasons why the Packers will beat the Vikings Sunday:

For starters, Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, who owns the NFC North. Against Minnesota, Rodgers is 13-6 as a starter. He also has 39 career touchdown passes and just six interceptions. His passer rating against the Vikings is also 112.

Certainly, Minnesota has a better defense than it has during most of Rodgers career, but even against a really good defense, I’ll take my chances with Rodgers.

However, another big key for the Packers will be the running game, which gets a boost from the return of Ty Montgomery. After the emergence of Aaron Jones, the Packers now have two, talented backs that both seem capable of carrying the load.

Montgomery has been impressive since moving to running back last season and all Jones did in his first career start was rush for 125 yards and score a rushing touchdown. Green Bay may never be a dominant team running the ball, but when the Packers are able to pound the ball consistently, it makes stopping Rodgers, even more difficult.

Another reason to be confident in the Packers Sunday is, believe it or not, the defense. Without Diggs, the threat of a big pass play isn’t quite as prominent, although Minnesota still has some talented receivers, especially tight end Kyle Rudolph.

The Packers rank sixth in the league in pass defense, while ranking 20th in points, 11th in total yards and 22nd against the run. With Case Keenum at quarterback, the Vikings have been solid, but they aren’t world-beaters offensively.

Green Bay will need to slow down Vikings running back Jerrick McKinnon, who ran for 95 yards against the Bears, but as long as it can do that, the defense should be able to keep the Vikings offense bottled up.

Why the Vikings Might win:

If there is one thing Minnesota can still hang its hat on, it’s defense and in particular, the pass rush. Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, who have a combined nine sacks this season, are an elite pass-rush duo, one that could give Green Bay fits. 

Both players are extremely difficult to handle off the edge and with Lane Taylor playing left tackle again (most likely), it has to be a concern. If the Packers can handle the pressure and give Rodgers time in the pocket, Minnesota won’t have much chance.

But if the Vikings front four can dominate, especially on the outside, it could wreck the day for Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. A good pass rush is the best way to stop an elite quarterback and if Minnesota is going to have a chance, it has to get to Rodgers, early and often.

If the Vikings can’t put pressure on Rodgers consistently, then the two-time MVP should have his way and the Packers should find a way to win the football game. 


Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lphill's picture

The Packers need to hold the ball longer and tire out the Vikings defense , the Packers defense needs to get off the field on 3 rd down. That is a recipe for success.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

It could be a trap game, I know we won some tight ones at the end. Vikings just beat some weak teams but that is football. It would be a big let down if the Pack loses so GO PACK GO.

Nick Perry's picture

This is a really important game. IF the Packers win they'll be 2.5 games up on the Vikings and 2 on the Lions lose to the Saints. The Packers would be 5-1, tied for the best record in the NFC, and down just 1/2 game to the Falcons provided they win. The Packers are far superior to the Vikings on offense and now without Cook, Diggs, Bradford, and one of their starting O-Linemen, even Capers should be able to hold the Vikings offense to less than 17 points. The Vikings will have a lot of 3 & outs and short possessions. By the end of the 3rd quarter the Vikings defense will begin to get gassed and the Pack will pull away.

My main concern for this game is getting Rodgers out alive, Griffin and Hunter scare the crap out of me. The Packers will miss Burnett but I envision another game for Josh Jones similar to the 12 tackle 2 sack game he had in week 3.

I like Since '61's prediction .... Packers 27 to 16.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I worry about what Everson Griffen is going to do to Lane Taylor. This guy has six sacks already. He's really good. Hopefully Rodgers continues to get the ball out on time.

IMO the number one factor in the Packers offensive success has been Rodgers throwing the ball on rythmn a lot more than previous seasons.

Diggs being out is HUGE. The Packers don't have anyone who can cover him in man. Since he's out they will be able to play a lot more Man and focus on making sure that Kyle Rudolph does not get forgotten underneath.

flackcatcher's picture

You know Nick, Dom Capers is not the source of all evil in football world. That's Jerry Jones. I agree with you and '61 on this game. Division games are tough, everybody know everybody. Any edge can put a team over the top, that's why they are playing Monty before the bye week. My main concern is the state of the secondary, with Burnett down a lot of experience and veteran savvy is lost for this game. If House can play even limited snaps that would be a great help to Dix who dealing with both Brice and Randall. (What a pair of knuckleheads) Most of this will go away, if the Packers get the lead early, and control the clock, Packers win.

dobber's picture

That's the key to this game: playing from behind against Dallas--which might have the weakest defense in football (sans Sean Lee)--was not such a stretch. Can't play from behind against Minnesota because they'll tee off on the edges and #12 will get killed. An early score or two will work wonders today.

BPEARSON21's picture

This is a college level offense. If our D struggles at all I will be thoroughly embarrassed....

Chris Peterson's picture

I wouldn't say that. Keenum isn't that bad. Rudolph is a pro bowler, McKinnon is a talented guy and they have receivers. But yea they are no Atlanta or Dallas. Should be able to hold to 17 or 20.

dobber's picture

This college-level offense currently ranks AHEAD of the Packers at 9th in yards per game (but 19th in points scored). Virtually all of that has been done on Case Keenum's watch. Jerrick McKinnon is no Dalvin Cook, but he showed on the road against a #6 Chicago defense that he can be serviceable. His play is the wild-card today. They lack downfield threats with Diggs hurt and that should make a big difference, but I think they'll move the ball between the 20s.

BPEARSON21's picture

The only reason Keenum worries me is cause I don't trust our defense. Our D made Matt Barkley look like a pro bowler last year. But Keenum has a career record of 10-17 with a QBR average of 81. He's been passed around the NFL his whole career. He's a career back up, I prefer to take his entire body of work over a few games. Keenum is no more of a threat than a Brian Hoyer or Josh McCown. I just don't think I could say with a straight face that Keenum is good.

dobber's picture

I never said he was good. I said that the offense has been productive for them with him at QB. How much of that has been a function of Dalvin Cook remains to be seen.

MarkinMadison's picture

I don't like this game at all. The Vikings defense is going to take advantage of Taylor, and if you've watched Keenum play this year you know that he is playing better than he has in the past. I still would have been confident of a Packers win EXCEPT Burnett is now out, along with over half of the rest of the starting D backfield. The OT win against Cincy and final drive magic in Dallas were awesome, but I wonder if the Packers can pull another rabbit out of the hat in Minnesota.

As others have said, the path to victory here is a productive running game. I think this is a low scoring, coin flip of the game. I'll be happy to be wrong. Packers 21-17.

dobber's picture

I would argue that the key to winning today is the quick passing game. It could be that the 3-guard (+ Linsley + Bulaga) OL is a superior run-blocking group to the preferred starting 5, but this offense doesn't want to see many 3rd and longs, especially early.

mrtundra's picture

The vikings O-Line, which was horrible, last year, has improved this year. Our D-Line needs to put pressure on Keenum, consistently so he makes poor decisions throwing the ball. I think Kyle Rudolph will be Keenum's go to guy if and when their O-Line breaks down. On our side of the ball, we need to protect Aaron Rodgers all day. On this turf, we don't want to see any of our players get injured. Two weeks ago Dalvin Cook tore up his left ACL while running on that turf without being hit by anyone. We want to be back here, healthy, for the last game of the post season this season.

stockholder's picture

The packers and the Vikings know each other to well. If they lose, ITS Capers. THEY SHOULD WIN. Because A-Rod is still the best QB in the NFL. PACK 35- HORNY GUYS- 10

John Galt III's picture

Special teams may decide this one as field position is crucial.

I watched the Number 5 college team last night (the 5-0 University of Washington) lose to Arizona State 13 to 7 because U of Washington special teams were awful. They cost them the game.

By the way the tackling in college football (I have watched about 20 games this season) is so much better than the NFL - not even close.

Lastly, win or lose, please no injuries.

BPEARSON21's picture

Who wants to bet we'll see some version of "Packers defense is legit" if we control Case Keenum and Adam Thielen.

Since '61's picture

Reasons why the Packers will win:

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Aaron Jones
4. Davonte Adams
5. Ty Montgomery
6. Josh Jones

Reason why the Packers could lose:
Packers beat themselves with stupid penalties, poor tackling and/or no pass rush.

When the Packers run the ball in this game they should run straight at Griffin and Hunter. Also they should utilize the quick passing game as others here have posted. Delayed runs and screens passes should work as well. Build a lead, wear down the Vikings D and get our defense off the field on 3rd down.

Monty's return opens up the offense. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since '61

4thand1's picture

What The Packers have to do is take Everson Griffen out of the game. Bellacheat does it best, take away the best player on the other team.

CAG123's picture

I don’t know man I’m having flashbacks to a NOBODY receiver toasting us last year for over 200 yards and Sam Bradford having his best game of the season on us. I want the Packers to win and not make average QBs look great. It’s Case Keenum not Brady or Brees I don’t care about his outrageous yards in college he played in Conf-USA against ECU, Marshall, Memphis, and Louisiana-Lafayette not exactly stiff competition. So I’m hoping we can lean on the defense a bit here my final 24-10 Packers.

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