Packers Game Preview: Week 8 - Minnesota Vikings

Published: Oct 27, 2013 03:54am EDT
By epolnoff, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Oct 27, 2013 @ 03:54am EDT

 

With six games in the books, the Green Bay Packers top the NFC North by half a game (to borrow from baseball) with a record of 4-2. The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are tied at 4-3, leaving the Minnesota Vikings alone at the bottom of the division with a not-so-surprising record of 1-5.

The Packers and Vikings meet tomorrow, for the first time this season, under the dome in Minneapolis. With the Vikings’ newest Quarterback, Josh Freeman, sitting this one out due to concussion-like symptoms, the old standby gets a shot at redemption. Christian Ponder has been the subject of trade rumors recently, but the Vikings seem confident enough in his abilities to put the ball in his hands while Matt Cassel warms the bench.

Averaging a meek 214 yards passing per game, the Vikings rank 24th in the league. Passing defense happens to be a sore subject for the Packers this year, matching Minnesota’s 24th place ranking and allowing an average of 266 yards per game. A big side story for the evening will be Packers CB Sam Shields on former Packer WR Greg Jennings. With all of the off-season “joking” the newly minted Purple WR participated in, I have the think the Packers defense is looking forward to meeting back up with Greg.

We all know, however, that the Vikings don’t rely on their passing game to score points. With Adrian Peterson in the backfield, typically, you can expect breakout plays and Madden-like yardage. Since the week 5 bye, however, “All Day” has only rushed 23 times and put down 90 yards in two games. If fans saw those numbers from Adrian in one game, they would be disappointed; Spread out over two games, the word "devestated" comes to mind.

With 28 yards in his last game against the Giants, Peterson may find himself having a mid-game case of de ja vu. The Packers enter this game with a stout run defense, currently ranked third in the league and allowing only 79 yards per game on average. The Pack will be missing OLB’s Clay Matthews (thumb) and Nick Perry (foot), but gaining MLB Brad Jones, CB’s Casey Hayward and Jarrett Bush back from injury. Jones return to the fold likely means that 3rd year standout Jamari Lattimore will see less playing time, but I can’t imagine, with the success he’s seen in the past two games (16 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection), that he’ll be left off the field completely.

The Packers offense has been riddled with injuries over the past few weeks. Losing James Jones (knee), Randall Cobb (fibula), Ryan Taylor (knee), and Jermichael Finley (neck) has forced QB Aaron Rodgers to utilize other assets. While Jordy Nelson remains Rodgers favorite target, he has also found a new toy in Jarrett Boykin, who pulled in 8 catches for 103 yards and a TD last week. Luckily for the Green and Gold, their Purple opponents are ranked 29th in passing defense, allowing an average of 288 yards per game and 14 touchdowns through six games.

The other shiny new toy Aaron Rodgers has at his disposal? Eddie Lacy. Easily and without a doubt, the biggest addition to the Packers offense this year has been the establishment of a power running game. Though he has no scores over the past three games, Lacy has racked up 301 yards (352 total on the season) and looks to be hitting his stride in this pass-first offense. Look for him to take a lot of pressure off of the passing game tomorrow against the Vikings mediocre run defense and force more men down in the box, opening passing lanes down field.

My focuses for the game: Sam Shields vs. Greg Jennings, David Bakhtiari vs. Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson vs. Raji/Pickett/Jolly, Eddie Lacy vs. Williams/Guion/Floyd

Packers: 34, Vikings: 24


Notable Injuries:

            Packers: WR James Jones (knee), WR Randall Cobb (leg), TE Ryan Taylor (knee), TE Jermichael Finley (neck), OLB Clay Matthews (hand), OLB Nick Perry (foot)

            Vikings: QB Josh Freeman (concussion), RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), TE Rhett Ellison (ankle), WR Rodney Smith (hip)


 

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