NFL Wild Card Round: Minnesota Vikings Keys to Victory

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After a 10-6 regular season, the Minnesota Vikings will head east to take on the rival Green Bay Packers this Saturday night. The Vikings were just at Lambeau Field a mere four weeks earlier, and of course the two teams clashed just six days ago in Minneapolis. Safe to say, these teams know each other at this point.

It’s pretty simple when it comes to the offensive schemes of each team. Minnesota is going to run, while Green Bay is going to pass, and each team figures to get their own when it comes their respective strengths. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the keys to victory for the Vikings in round one of the playoffs:

Defending Against the Slot Receiver 

This was an area where the Vikings got burned repeatedly last Sunday. The slot receiver, who was primarily Greg Jennings, took advantage of Antoine Winfield‘s absence in the game. Winfield was unable to play in the second half due to a broken finger, and it really showed on the field.

Marcus Sherels did not fill in admirably. Winfield is going to give it a go with a cast on his right hand Saturday night, and says that he feels much better than a week ago. This is big for the Vikings, and I feel Winfield, at even 85%, is good enough to make big difference in the pass defense game.

Get Receivers Involved Early and Often

It doesn’t matter who it is, but someone has to step up and have a game-changing performance in the receiving game. Jarius Wright has shown big play ability at times this season, and we all know that Jerome Simpson is capable of creating separation. I’m looking for one of those guys to have a big night. By Vikings’ wide receiver standards this season, that’s about six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. If someone can add that onto a big night from Adrian Peterson, the Vikings could be setting pretty.

It would be ideal if they can get the receivers going early in the game to not only establish a rhythm, but also to make the Packers’ defense pay more respect to that area of the field. Any success in the passing game is only going to make Peterson’s night easier.

Play Vikings Football

It’s no secret what this Minnesota team is going to do at this point, they’re going to run it down your throat, and they’re going to hit you hard on defense. It’s going to take a lot of grinding in the game, but if the Vikings execute their normal game plan, they can wear down the Packers.

Especially in a cold weather game, defense is going to be extremely important. If the Vikings defense can set the tone early like they did last week, it will go along way towards a victory.

In games like this, you just hope your best players can make something special happen. For the Vikings they will ride the back of Peterson, and on defense it would be nice if Jared Allen had his best game of the season with lots of hits on Aaron Rodgers.

In the playoffs it’s simply just about making more plays than your opponent. You can throw statistics out the window, it’s now solely about winning.

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