On Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers (4-2) travel to take on the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) in a NFC North showdown. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 CT with television coverage on NBC. This will be the last meeting between the two rivals in the Metrodome, as the Vikings will move to their new stadium in 2016. The Packers enter the game on a three game winning streak, while the Vikings come into the game losers of their last two games. The Vikings also enter the game with questions at the quarterback position. Josh Freeman suffered a concussion on Monday night against the New York Giants, so the Vikings might be forced to turn to Christian Ponder, who has looked dismal in the three games he has started this year. If he ends up starting Sunday, he needs to really step up his game or he could find himself booed right out of the Metrodome.
The Packers also enter the game with their share of injuries, after they lost tight end Jermichael Finley to a bruised spinal cord last week against the Cleveland Browns. More than likely, the Packers will rely on a combination of Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, and Brandon Bostick to fill Finley’s void. This is nothing new for the Packers, who two weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens lost wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones to injury. With the Packers short on wide receivers, they turned to second year wide out Jarrett Boykin, and he stepped up. Boykin had a career high 103 yards receiving and his first career touchdown.
The key for the Packers in this game will be to slow down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Last season, Peterson rushed for a combined 508 yards in the two regular seasons and the NFC Wildcard game. If the Packers can hold Peterson under 100 yards, that will force whoever the Vikings quarterback is to win the game, and I don’t see their quarterback doing that. Peterson is also playing with a hamstring issue, which could hinder his performance.
Aside from being a rivalry game, this game also has intrigue because of former Packer, now Vikings wide receiver, Greg Jennings’ comments of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the offseason. Jennings said that Rodgers was not a team player, never took the blame for a bad pass, and only referred to Rodgers as “12.” Those comments from Jennings might have lit a fire under Rodgers for this Sunday’s game.
If the Packers can beat the Vikings, it will give them a chance to build upon their division lead and carry momentum into the following week’s game against the Chicago Bears. It’s the Packers and the Vikings on a Sunday night. It doesn’t get much better than that.