Sunday, September 18 from 8.30pm at U.S Bank Stadium.
Money line odds:
Vikings +2 (-115)
Packers -2 (-105 at Bovada.lv)
WHAT better way to spend Sunday night than watching one of the greatest rivalries in the NFL when the Minnesota Vikings host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers?
Both teams kicked off the season with wins in week one and winning this all-important Sunday night clash could determine playoff spots further down the road.
The Packers will again play on the road having narrowly beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-23 last week and although it was closer than many had predicted, they came through it relatively unscathed and the team performed well throughout.
The Vikings didn’t go by the script in its opener against the Titans. After losing franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending injury, the Vikings were supposed to be relying heavily on the run game of Adrian Peterson, but it was fill-in QB Shaun Hill who impressed.
Despite the strong performance, Shaun Hill’s quarterback spot is under threat by newcomer Sam Bradford and coach Mike Zimmer isn’t telling anyone about which way he’s going to go on game day.
“I did last week. I don’t know if I will this week or not because it started leaking,” Zimmer said. “Usually I like to inform the team of everything that’s going on here and what I’m thinking, but I was a little disappointed that some of the things go out We’ll just see how it goes. I may talk to them. I don’t know. Maybe I will.”
Whether Zimmer goes for Hill or Bradford, the Vikings will look for star running back Adrian Peterson to do more than he did last week. Peterson gained only 31 yards on 19 carries which isn’t good enough and he’ll be looking for a much-improved effort this week.
Why the Vikings can win
The Vikings get the luxury of playing back-to-back away games and for an offense which could have crumbled under the pressure last week, it stood up strong and amassed more total yards than the Packers did.
The Vikings had 301 total yards and 236 yards through the air. That leaves the running game anything to be desired, but we’ll focus on the positives which was the quarterback play of Shaun Hill who went 18-33 for all 236 of those throwing yards.
Stefon Diggs was the star receiver with seven receptions for 103 yards and the duo will have to be on song again against the Packers.
The last time these two teams met was last season in January where the Vikings got the better of their rivals in a 20-13 victory. The broke a run of victories for the Packers, but they will be looking to build on that confidence from last season.
Coach Zimmer is contemplating using established quarterback Sam Bradford, but he has been with the team for only two weeks and Zimmer is concerned about whether he’s ready.
“A lot of it is terminology,” Zimmer said. “And you start getting in motions and shifts, checks at the line of scrimmage. There’s quite a few things.”
Having a back-up like Bradford is a blessing for the Vikings which could easily start the season with a perfect record and head the division into the playoffs.
Why the Packers can win
Need we say more than Aaron Rodgers? He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he isn’t always worried about putting up video game numbers.
Rodgers threw for 199 yards for two touchdowns last week and running back Eddie Lacy was another main focal point of the offense. Lacy had 14 carries for 61 yards, but it’s the opposing running back which the Packers will be focusing on this week.
“You tilt towards certain schemes with one quarterback, as opposed to another. Those are the questions you ask through the game-planning process, but the fact of the matter is it’s going to start with giving the ball to Adrian Peterson,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
“Every time we play the Vikings, that’s the focal point of our defense.”
It won’t be easy for the Packers to win consecutive away games to start the season, but across the park they have the better players and a team which looks likely to make a deep playoff run this season.
Vikings vs. Packers game tip
This game could really go either way, but clarity at the quarterback position is vital and everyone knows where they stand with the Packers.
It’s Aaron Rodgers offense and he knows how to control the game with the best of them. His supporting cast is more than capable of putting up big numbers and the Packers will be hungry to get revenge after losing to the Vikings in January.
A close game is predicted, but expect the Packers to edge clear late in the game.
Our tip: Packers 24 – Vikings 14: Back the Packers -2 (-105 at Bovada.lv)