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NFL Green Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings

Packers vs.Vikings NFL Week 17 Preview

Marilyn Indahl – USA Today Sports

I’m with Greg Jennings on this one.

I want the Green Bay Packers to defeat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but I kind of want Adrian Peterson to get the record. Peterson needs 208 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing yards record, an incredible feat that gets more unbelievable considering that he could do it one year and six days after blowing out his knee. I wish Peterson were playing any other team in the finale, but if it has to come against the Packers, I could live with that. The record certainly is within Peterson’s reach, as he he ran for 210 yards in his last meeting with the Packers.

Though Peterson’s record is the most exciting factor in Sunday’s game, there are bigger things at stake. A Green Bay win would secure them the number two seed and a first-round bye. The Vikings have surprised everyone and will be playing for a playoff spot.

Minnesota obviously has more to play for and the team will leave everything on the field this weekend, but the Packers aren’t about to lie down in this game. They have been playing with a piecemeal roster and have been inconsistent throughout the season. The last few games, they’ve been hitting their stride and would love to use the regular season finale to continue to roll and reintegrate players returning from injury.

I’m a bit inclined to scoff at the notion of a team that has Christian Ponder beating a team that has Aaron Rodgers, but I think the Vikings put everyone on notice with a stunning 23-6 victory over the Houston Texans last week. The shocking thing is that Peterson had an “off” day – for him – and rushed for only 86 yards in the win.

The Vikings will be feeling confident and are playing for their season, but the Packers have the edge here. I don’t want to pick on Ponder too much, but I don’t trust him in tight situations. The Packers defense gave him quite a bit of trouble in Week 13, limiting him to a 48% completion rate, 119 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and a QBR of 3.1.

The Packers will be forced to give a lot of attention to Peterson and may need additional men at the line to back up their iffy run defense. Minnesota doesn’t really have a lot of receiving threats, but tight end Kyle Rudolph would be Ponder’s go-to guy. If the Packers secondary can cover him, I don’t know that Ponder has a lot of other options: Jarius Wright? Jerome Simpson? Michael Jenkins?

The Vikings will put up a fight, but I just don’t think a team that is ranked last in passing yards will be able to generate enough points to outduel the Packers.

But I do hope AP gets his record.