The Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of a disappointing 2-8 season, but this weekend against the Green Bay Packers they will put up a fight not many are expecting to see. The Vikings haven’t had a reliable option at quarterback all season long, and now the playing field has evened as the Packers will be without Aaron Rodgers again this week, meaning Scott Tolzien will be opposite Christian Ponder in this high-profile rivalry.
The aerial attack of the Packers won’t be what it usually is, but that means this game will be a battle on the ground now that Eddie Lacy has legitimized himself as an NFL back. Adrian Peterson is battling through a somewhat limiting groin strain, but if backup Toby Gerhart gets more involved, it still spells trouble for the Packers’ run defense.
Neither team’s run defense has proved very reliable this season, but the Vikings did limit Marshawn Lynch to just 3.7 yards per carry last week, and the Packers rendered the New York Giants‘ ground game useless in the Packers’ loss last Sunday. However, both teams have allowed other backs to run all over them at some point this year, and all the focus during this game should be on which team establishes a dominant run game first.
Even with Rodgers healthy in the Week 8 matchup between these teams, the Vikings were competitive throughout and lost by 13 points in a high-scoring affair. This weekend’s game won’t be as high scoring, but it will be closer as the run game will be more important for both teams given each will have a temporary starter at the quarterback position.
While it won’t be the high-scoring long-ball throwing game most fans are hoping to see, this weekends matchup between the Vikings and Packers will be a close one throughout, with the Vikings having a serious chance at disrupting the 5-5 Packers’ playoff hopes with an upset victory.