What to watch in Packers vs Vikings: Next man up

Five things to watch as the Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Next man up

One of the more impressive features of the 2021 Green Bay Packers has been their ability to continue to perform at a high level despite a laundry list of injuries to key players. That skill will be tested again this week.

With Aaron Jones sidelined through injury and Rashan Gary operating as a limited version of himself (if he suits up at all), numerous Packers will have to step up and fill the void.

AJ Dillon will finally get the workload of an RB1, something he hasn’t had since college, with Patrick Taylor also in line for some carries and needing to produce as the Robin to Dillon’s Batman.

Even if Gary is able to go, Green Bay’s pass rush has lost Whitney Mercilus for the year, meaning Tipa Galeai and possibly even La’Darius Hamilton will need to provide quality reps for the Packers.

The Packers have been nothing short of remarkable at dealing with adversity this season, but it is fair to question at what point the dam will break as injuries mount.

Offensive rhythm

The Packers offense was unquestionably off last week after Rodgers returned to the team just one day before their showdown with Seattle, and it was not the first time Green Bay’s attack has looked disjointed this season.

Rodgers has not played alongside his full receiving corps off the back of a full week of normal practice since the Washington game, and QB1 also missed some practices this week with a mysterious toe injury.

Green Bay’s offense is at its best when the run game is used to stir the drink, and that will once again be the key in Minnesota, in order to stay ahead of the sticks and open up plays in the passing game.

Vikings unpredictably

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the strangest teams in the NFL.

They have a record of 3-5, but could easily be 5-3, with most of Minnesota’s games seeming to come down to the final few minutes.

The Vikings have played great teams such as the Cardinals close and pulled off some gutty wins, but have also lost to the Cowboys led by Cooper Rush and barely beat the Detroit Lions.

Green Bay will of course prepare for the best Minnesota has to offer on Sunday, but the result of this game might just depend on which version of the Vikings shows up.

Tired Packers

The Packers have been through a lot in the first 10 weeks of the season, and they still have two games two play before their much-needed bye week.

Matt LaFleur admitted his team were “tired” after their 17-0 shutout of the Seahawks, and fatigue could play a part in this week’s matchup with Minnesota.

The Vikings may well be the fresher of the two teams, and if the score is close near the end of the game, with the home crowd behind Kirk Cousins and his crew, it will be a true test of Green Bay’s grit and resolve to see if they can muster up the energy to come through.

The desperation factor

Green Bay currently sit comfortably atop not just the NFC North, but the NFC as a whole, holding the number one seed and boasting a 3.5 game lead in their division, having won more games than the Vikings, Bears and Lions combined.

That is why this Sunday will serve as a last stand for the Vikings, who know defeat would almost certainly hand the North to Green Bay.

Sometimes in football, the team who is more in need of a victory is the one who comes out on top, and the Packers should be prepared for the Vikings to throw the kitchen sink at them this week.

The Packers of course know the rewards for winning this game, but they are in a pretty comfortable position right now and are a dead cert for the playoffs. If they do not match the effort and intensity of Minnesota on Sunday, they could come out with a loss and consequently invite the Vikings back into the division race.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

3 points

Comments (11)

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Charvid's picture

November 20, 2021 at 04:18 pm

Bury them in their own home. Nuf said.

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Lphill's picture

November 20, 2021 at 05:30 pm

I am concerned about this game I would feel better if Alexander was covering Jefferson .

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Crankbait's picture

November 20, 2021 at 05:36 pm

I predict a loss here. I hope I am wrong, but we are just too beat up and Vikings are a very fast team.

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

November 22, 2021 at 03:43 pm

In my opinion 80 is the number to watch!
If our monster defense can keep the Vikings running back D. Cook below 80 yards, The Packers win. He beat us for over 200 yards last time the Vikings beat us. Our defense has changed lets hope our D keeps their trajectory going.

Of course the rest of the team has to be on their top play and execution as they have been doing, and that also means A.R. has to get his stuff back and start trusting the targets he has to work with. Speaking of Aaron, If there were ever a time for Rogers to have a much needed (for his numbers) BREAKOUT Game and light up the scoreboard again, this is the game.

If Rogers has a good to great game then the D. Cook factor is mitigated.

Eighty ! 80 yards or less for Mr. Cook, Aaron has an OK to good game with everybody else doing their job AND THE PACKERS WIN IN MINNESOTA .

Update:
For those keeping track, Packers lost against the Vikings, in that game COOK RACKED 86 YARDS.

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ImaPayne's picture

November 20, 2021 at 08:35 pm

To me the bigger issue is gb losing several games in a row and the vikes going on there run. i say it gets tight from now on.
rog and adams arent that hot all of a sudden since adams isnt running free

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Crankbait's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:43 am

I agree especially since our offensive line is still not settled without Bakhtiari. Defense is so beat up and I don't even have to mention the special teams. I think the Vikings go on a run second half of the season they are very fast and very talented.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:37 am

TheD line is Healthy. They will set the tone.

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packer132's picture

November 20, 2021 at 10:19 pm

The Vikings are 4-5 and not 3-5 as listed. They lost to Arizona by 1 point and lost two in overtime to Ravens and Bengals. Their record could be 7-2. The game comes down to a few key points, as there is parity in the NFL and almost any team can win any week.
#1 Packers need to stop Cook from big gains. #2 Win the turnover battle, or at least not commit any.
#3 Run the ball, again. #4 Control the clock by converting 3rd and 4th downs. Packers 24-20.

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Packers0808's picture

November 21, 2021 at 09:16 am

It seems from I read often is that Rodgers has a sore toe from his covid adventure! Let us hope he doesn't have Long Hauler Covid Toe that affects his game!

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Spock's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:14 am

Rodgers sore toe (however he got it) could be a balance problem for him as well as his lack of practice time. I still think that, even with injuries, the Packers are the better team and should prevail.

Hopefully, Rodgers doesn't have "toelio". :)

Old joke: A couple of virgins (I said it's an OLD joke) are undressing for their wedding night in front of each other for the first time. The husband says to his wife, "Remember, dear, I warned you I've had a number of illnesses in the past that have affected me physically." His wife says, "I know, dear, and I will still love you no matter what they are." The man removes his shoes and socks revealing toes that are gnarled and bent. "OMG what happened to your toes?" she asks. "I had 'toelio' when I was six." he says. "Polio?" she asks. "No, toelio. It only affected my toes." Then he removes his trousers revealing that both his knees are heavily pock-marked. "What happened to your knees?" she asks. "I had 'kneasles' when I was 8." he replies. "Measles?" she asks. "No 'kneasles'. It only affected my knees" he says. At this point he drops his undershorts. "OMG!" She exclaims. "Yes," he says sadly, " I had 'smallcox' too." :)

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Hematite's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:39 am

😂🤗😂

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