Green Bay Packers’ next opponent: A crucial rematch in Minnesota against the Vikings
Like the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings are fresh off a prime-time loss that dropped them further behind NFC North leader Chicago (7-3). Sunday night's showdown at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis now carries significant playoff implications for both the Packers (4-5-1) and the Vikings (5-4-1). Back in Week 2, the bitter rivals battled to a 29-29 tie, so whoever wins this game will own the postseason tiebreaker edge if they finish with the same record.
Basics on the Vikings
The Vikings traveled to Soldier Field to take on the upstart Bears on Sunday night and despite their defense forcing three turnovers, Kirk Cousins gave it back twice – including a pick-6 into triple coverage – and Dalvin Cook also fumbled as the Vikings lost 25-20. The Vikings fell behind 22-6 but rallied in the fourth quarter to make the game tight.
First-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo started the year fresh off the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning season as their quarterbacks coach, and in his first season calling plays since 2015 the Vikings are No. 14 in total offense and No. 15 in scoring. When DeFilippo called plays in Cleveland for current Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine he ran a West Coast-based system, reliant on timing passing. On defense, the team runs head coach Mike Zimmer’s 4-3 scheme under coordinator George Edwards. The Vikings have finished in the top six in scoring defense the last four years and have been in the top half in total defense in each season Edwards has coordinated. That has continued as they are No. 5 overall in defense and No. 11 in scoring.
Sacks by Vikings against New Orleans and Chicago, sandwiched around 10 recorded against Detroit.
Yards per carry by Dalvin Cook in five games. He has been hampered coming off offseason knee surgery and then various other injuries.
Interceptions by Kirk Cousins (1.7 percent of his attempts).
Players to watch
Dan Bailey, K
The last time the Vikings played the Packers in Week 2 at Lambeau Field, the Vikings were rolling with draft pick Daniel Carlson as their kicker. The rookie out of Auburn missed three field goals – including two potential game winners in overtime – and was cut later that week. Bailey, a longtime Dallas Cowboy, was brought in and has gone 14-for-17 on field goals and 16-for-17 on extra points.
Adam Thielen, WR
Stefon Diggs has the higher salary and the commercials, but Thielen has emerged as Cousins’ go-to target. After a big game Lambeau Field, Thielen set an NFL record with eight consecutive 100-yard receiving games and leads the NFL with 85 receptions for 1,013 yards and seven touchdowns. He went off for 131 yards in Week 2 against Green Bay, but has been held to 11 catches for 88 yards the last two weeks against Detroit and Chicago.
Danielle Hunter, DE
Everson Griffen has returned after dealing with some mental health issues earlier in the season but it has been the 24-year-old Hunter who's turning in an All-Pro type of campaign. The fourth-year pro out of LSU recorded 12.5 sacks as a second-year player back in 2016 and he already has 11.5 through 10 games. He also has one fumble recovery and 19 hits on the quarterback.
Did you see this?