Packers Periscope: Week 16 vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Green Bay Packers will play host to the Minnesota Vikings in week 16 for the second-straight season.  One year later, the situations are nearly 180 degrees reversed.  Last season, the Packers won going away and knocked the Vikings out of postseason contention.  The Packers have already been eliminated from the playoffs and the Vikings are still fighting for one of two precious bye weeks in January.

Let's take a look at the latest in this match up.

The Past

I broke down the history between these two teams prior to the last meeting this season.  At that time, the Packers were 4-1 and coming off a big road win against the Dallas Cowboys and heading towards what seemed like a successful 2017 season.

Early in the game in Minnesota, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered the broken collarbone that kept him out until last week's game in Carolina.  Green Bay went 3-4 without Rodgers and hoped that his return would spark the team to a late season run.

More over, many were hopeful that a win in Carolina would set up a meaningful game on Saturday and a chance for Rodgers to exact some measure of revenge against his neighbors to the west.  Alas, that was not to be as the Packers were defeated by the Panthers and Rodgers was placed back on injured reserve earlier this week.

After the last game, there was some swapping of thoughts between Rodgers and Anthony Barr, the Vikings linebacker who put the hit on Rodgers that led to the injury.  Barr said he had no intention of trying to hurt Rodgers.  Rodgers said that as he was leaving the field, he saw Barr make a lewd gesture towards him.  Barr denied it. 

Since that mid-October day, the teams have gone in different directions. 

The Vikings kept on winning until two weeks ago when the Panthers finally knocked them off.  Despite the loss, Minnesota has still secured the NFC North division title and a playoff berth.  

The Packers nearly won a few more games but came up short and find themselves playing for nothing more than pride.  Fans are in the rare position of already looking ahead to the draft when they're typically trying to determine what the team needs to do to increase their playoff seeding.

The Present

Right now, the Packers are likely to use these next two games to see what they have in their young players.  Brett Hundley will get two more starts to showcase his talents and the bottom of the depth charts will see some valuable reps against Vikings starters.

Guys like Donatello Brown, Lenzy Pipkins, Michael Clark, Marwin Evans, Jermaine Whitehead and Devante Mays could all see a fair amount of snaps.  We may even see some Joe Callahan, which should appease a good portion of the fan base who were inexplicably calling for him to replace Hundley nearly as soon as he took over for Rodgers.

The Vikings, on the other hand, are in it to win it.  A win on Saturday keeps Minnesota in contention for the top seed in the NFC.  If the Philadelphia Eagles win this week, they wrap up the top seed and the Vikings can finish no higher than second in the conference.

Given that Super Bowl XLII will be held in Minneapolis adds to a bit of the anticipation of these playoffs, as the Vikings try to become the first team to appear in the Super Bowl in their own city.

Despite losing running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have plowed through their schedule with a top defense and an offense led by quarterback Case Keenum.  They may not have much postseason experience but this is their second division title in three years and second under head coach Mike Zimmer.  They'll be a tough out come January.

The Future

Not much to say about how this game likely goes.  The Packers have home field but how many fans will come out for this one?  Reports were that tickets were available on the secondary market for under $200, a rarity for any home game at Lambeau Field over the past decade. 

The Vikings likely want to put this one away early and rest starters.  Minnesota enters a nine point favorite.  The Packers may take exception to that and despite not having much to play for, will start their healthy regulars and at least try to put up some resistance.

It's always nice when the Packers knock off the Vikes, but I don't see it.  The Packers had all of the wind taken out of their sails last weekend and the Vikings are all business.  I won't go so far as to say who I actually think will win and have those words attached to my name, though.

I have to say it's odd that for the first time since I started writing here, over five calendar years, the Packers are getting set to play a meaningless game.  That's not a bad run and I'll end this with that thought.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (6)

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NickPerry's picture

December 22, 2017 at 06:56 am

"Fans are in the rare position of already looking ahead to the draft when they're typically trying to determine what the team needs to do"

Funny, I was already looking at Walter Camp and Drafttek this morning. Right now the Packers are projecting to pick 16th on both of those sites. That could and probably will change after the next 2 weeks. I just don't see this team finishing on a high note, not with all the injuries and especially without Rodgers. I think the Packers finish 7-9 but what's worse is they'll finish 2-4 in the division and 0-4 against the Lions and Vikings.

I'll watch the game but I'm in full off-season mode already. I'm watching to see who will declare themselves eligible if they haven't already and right now I'm hoping a whole lot more declare. The Packers have a lot of ammunition in the 2018 draft and since you can now trade comp picks it will be interesting to see what our GM does. Hopefully there's been some field tilting FA additions added before the draft so the laundry list of needs the Packers currently have is shorter by the time of the draft.

One more thing... I hope Bakhitiari or one of his O-Linemen is able to get a shot at Anthony Barr. I don't want Barr injured, that would be wrong. But a shot to the Jewels, one so bad he couldn't sleep with his wife/GF for at least a week or so might be in order. One where he LIMPS off the field and the WHOLE Stadium knows why he's limping. That would be the start of a very Merry Christmas.

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stockholder's picture

December 22, 2017 at 07:46 am

I don't want Barr injured, that would be wrong.= I do! Eye for an eye . Tooth for a tooth. (They changed the season.) Time to bury the face iron in the vikings.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 22, 2017 at 07:27 am

"We may even see some Joe Callahan, which should appease a good portion of the fan base who were inexplicably calling for him to replace Hundley nearly as soon as he took over for Rodgers."

I'm not sure why you can't figure out in people calling for a QB with ratings in the 30s to take a seat so we can see if the other guy can make it to the 40s. I'd be curious to hear why you term that "inexplicable".

In fact, Hundley has improved on that performance and yet you're still terming the switch something besides "inexplicable" now.

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Since'61's picture

December 22, 2017 at 08:53 am

If I were the Packers I would run the ball as much as possible in this game. Use the next 2 games as an opportunity to determine if we really have a legit run game with Williams and A.Jones. Give them both at least 10 carries a game. Use them in the passing game as well.
By running the ball we also get the opportunity to pound away at the Viking defenders. Run few plays straight at Anthony Barr and get something back for Rodgers. I don't recommend that we deliberately hurt him but just pound away at him.
On defense I'll consider it a success if we can get 11 guys on the field before the snap without wasting a timeout.
Thanks, Since '61

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egbertsouse's picture

December 22, 2017 at 08:53 am

I would like to see Little Joe play against real players instead of the scrubs he faces in preseason. Then he can fall flat on his face and go back to serving MM donuts at the Krispy Kreme and we no longer have to hear about how great he’s going to be in the future.

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dobber's picture

December 22, 2017 at 10:21 am

I wouldn't like to see that, but I suspect it's what would happen if he played against this Vikings defense.

He's one drafted QB away from being back on the street.

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