Packers Periscope: Week 16 vs Minnesota Vikings

It’s beginning to look a lot like playoffs. Last week the Green Bay Packers officially clinched a berth to the 2019 playoffs. This week, they can win the division which was atop the list of this team’s goals according to players and coaches. If the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings in primetime on Monday or the Detroit Lions in week 17, it will be their fifth division title this decade.

Green Bay has not faced off against Minnesota on Monday Night Football since 2009. For those who don’t remember, it was Brett Favre’s first game against his former team. Favre got the best of the Packers that night throwing for 271 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 30-23 win.

Instead of Favre, Kirk Cousins will be under center this time around in the spotlight. The Vikings also won’t have a spry Adrian Peterson or their rising star running back, Dalvin Cook, who will reportedly be out with a shoulder injury. It is a huge blow for a team that leaned heavily on their run game in the first meeting.

In week two, Cook ran all over Green Bay totaling 154 rushing yards on only 20 carries. As it has been for much of the season, the Packers saving grace was winning the turnover margin. Preston Smith and Kevin King both picked off Cousins while the defense also recovered two fumbles. King’s interception couldn’t have come at a better time late in the fourth quarter, with Minnesota threatening to score on the eight-yard line.

Aaron Rodgers had a so-so day tallying 206 passing yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay’s offense was able to keep up with the Vikings because of Aaron Jones’ 116 yards on the ground. Minnesota outgained the Packers in total yards 421 to 335, but four turnovers were too costly as Green Bay won 21-16 to improve to 2-0.

Now at 11-3, the Packers still have a shot at the first seed in the NFC. At the beginning of the season, that wasn’t even fathomable to most but, here we are. A first-round bye and home-field advantage would be huge for this team, but they have to win out first, and the Vikings are a very good football team.

Minnesota’s roster is littered with talent on both sides of the ball, which is a large reason why they have the 10th overall offense and 14th ranked defense. While Cook will be out, wide receiver Adam Thielen is playing in his second game since missing four in a row with a hamstring injury. Thielen vs Jaire Alexander is always an intriguing matchup.

Green Bay’s front seven will have to get after the quarterback with no Cook to worry about. Cousins turned the ball over three times in their first meeting, however, even one may be enough.

As far as the offense goes, there’s no quarterback you would rather have facing the Vikings than Rodgers. Rodgers is always prone to go off against Minnesota, totaling 44 touchdowns to just six interceptions in his career.

However, the offense has struggled of late averaging 288 total yards over the last four games. Against a defense that is third in interceptions and ninth in sacks, Rodgers and company will have to bring it better than they have been.

 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (10)

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Tundraboy's picture

December 20, 2019 at 01:17 pm

Aaron, please go off against the Vikings this week!

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Pierre's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:04 pm

A Rodgers led win at Minnesota will demonstrate the Packers are a legitimate playoff contender. Another inept offensive performance by Rodgers, like games versus the 49ers and Chargers, and it’ll be a humiliating loss to the Vikings...and then one and done in the playoffs.

The Packers will only go as far as Rodgers can still play QB at an elite level. This season he has shown to be very inconsistent with his decisions and accuracy. Can he go on a run of solid QB play for a whole game...we shall see versus the Vikings?

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Lare's picture

December 20, 2019 at 03:54 pm

With two pretty good teams, I think the outcome of this game comes down to coaching. Whoever can develop effective game plans that can get their team to play consistent, mistake-free football will win.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:10 pm

Some might sneer at what is one of the oldest sayings in sports. But with playoff time here, coaching is what decides how a team play. The Packers are in a series of one game playoffs which will determine their fate for a run into the Superbowl starting with Monday night. We are about to find out how good MLF really is...

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flackcatcher's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:58 pm

Yup. State the obvious and get downvoted for it..... :-)

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Stroh's picture

December 22, 2019 at 06:53 pm

Thats kinda what I was thinking. The Packers need to use the game plan they generally used when Adams was out. Run and get the ball to Jones os the passing game. It boggles my mind that Rodgers won't run that offense with Adams. That isnt really the playcalling as much as it is Rodgers willingness to play that short game.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 20, 2019 at 04:31 pm

I think this game comes down to the fact that Cousins isn’t good enough. He throws a nice ball and seems to be really good in the red zone, especially to his TEs. But if the game is on the line it just doesn’t appear to slow down for him like it does for AR. He gets happy feet and will throw bad balls under pressure. And you can count on Z and Preston applying pressure late if it comes down to that.

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stockholder's picture

December 20, 2019 at 05:47 pm

The packers are under dogs. So Las Vegas is blowing the Gjallarhorn. It Sounds more like "Barney" the purple dinosaur should. Isn't drinking from a horn better then blowing it? Viking1 had nothing to do the battle of the gridiron. And neither does that horn. The secret to this game: Is NEVER Quit! The grind has used up the vikings. And Arron Rodger's is due to Launch more rockets then Nasa. It's time to hit and Kill the vikings.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:19 am

I think that for the most part the Vikings have more talent than the Packers. Rodgers has historically been the wild card. However, this year we have a good chance to win at their place. MLFs scheme has shown glimpses of what we can do when executed well. And Pettine has done well with the new FA additions.

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johnaltin's picture

December 25, 2019 at 02:27 am

The offense has struggled of late averaging 288 total yards over the last four games.

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