— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 15, 2017
The Vikings defense is going to need their best performance of the year and the crowd will have to help them impact the play of Aaron Rodgers if they Vikings are going to have a chance in this game. I can’t see the Vikings sticking around if this game turns into anything resembling a high-scoring affair.
Without Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, and Sam Bradford (not to mention a missing O-lineman in Nick Easton), Pat Shurmur is going to have to get creative on how he is going to move the football. Expect some gadget plays and even some surprises throughout this game as the Vikings try to find a way to move the ball. The offensive line will need it’s best performance of the year too.
In other words, the odds are stacked against the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers will do that to you when you are missing your entire offense due to injury. However, a good Vikings’ defense can keep even the worst offense in a game. But, will their good defense show up? The defense ranks in the top 10 league-wide but they have given up some yards, actually ranking 20th (Star Tribune) in that category at 229.2 yards per game, this season. It has been a bend-but-don’t-break mentality at times. I would try to keep Rodgers out of your end as much as possible. Don’t rely on bend-but-don’t-break in this game.
So, how do the Vikings win?
As great as Aaron Rodgers is, the Vikings actually have a higher ranked offense (9th – 357 yd/gm) this season, than the Packers (16th – 336.6 yd/gm). The Packers’ offense isn’t untouchable. The Vikings’ numbers will likely start to decline without their stars on offense. So the defense, again, needs to bring it in this game. They need to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers and not let him escape out of it, to cut you up on the ground or in the air, after the scramble.
The crowd can be a big factor too. Rodgers is GREAT after the snap but he is also one of the best ever pre-snap. The crowd can help take that away. Opponents come to US Bank Stadium, just like they did the Metrodome, knowing it will be hard to communicate on offense. The defense needs to feed off that and get after Rodgers. If you can make him jumpy, this is an entirely different game.
If the defense could sneak out a score……….. then we would REALLY be talking.
It’s a tight race in the north as things start heating up this season. A division win today would be a big deal.