Opposite Sideline: Vikings also facing injury issues
The lowdown on the Green Bay Packers' next opponent from a beat writer who covers that team.
The Green Bay Packers head to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings this Sunday and both teams are dealing with numerous injuries as they formulate their game plans for each other.
The Vikings are dealing with an injury at the game’s most important position while the Packers are dealing with injuries, well, pretty much everywhere. To get a better feel for what kind of team the Packers will be facing on Sunday afternoon, we spoke with Chris Tomasson, who covers the team for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You can find part of our exchange below and also in the video above.
1. With the uncertainty at quarterback, how do the Vikings prepare their offensive game plan? Are there things they do with Sam Bradford they can't do with Case Keenum? Or is the entire playbook still open to them?
I would be surprised if an ailing Sam Bradford plays Sunday. With that in mind, Case Keenum would get his fourth start at quarterback and play in his fifth straight game. Keenum is more mobile than Bradford and that will help him elude the pass rush. He doesn't have Bradford's passing accuracy, but the Vikings won't hesitate in having Keenum throw short balls in the hope of moving down the field and at the very least improving field position.
2. With the loss of Dalvin Cook for the season, how has the running back position shaken out so far?
Latavius Murray has replaced Dalvin Cook as the starting running back, and needs to be more explosive. He carried 12 times for just 31 yards in the 20-17 win at Chicago. Backup running back Jerick McKinnon stole the show against the Bears by carrying 16 times for 95 yards, but 58 came on a touchdown run. The Vikings can't count on McKinnon doing that again but they need Murray to at least somewhat return to his Pro Bowl form of 2015 with Oakland.
3. Last year, the Vikings' defense really carried them through much of the season. Is that still the strength of this team?
After some ups and downs early in the season, the Vikings are beginning to return to form on defense. They're beginning to come up with timely turnovers. There's a realization that with Bradford hurt and Cook out for the season, the defense is going to have to win some games. That was the case against the Bears. The Vikings got a field goal in the second quarter after forcing a fumble and a game-winning field goal in the waning seconds following a Harrison Smith interception.