The Vikings and the Packers face-off in an NFC North battle Sunday. The high-powered Green Bay offense is coming off a last-second victory against Dallas in Week 5. Minnesota will be looking to shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, but that is a tall order. Do the Vikings have what it takes to control the Green Machine?
What they have going for them
Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota Vikings are a very disciplined team. The Vikings have the ninth fewest penalties called against them, and only nine pre-snap penalties (tied-fifth fewest). Aaron Rodgers loves to take advantage of a defense’s miscues, but you can bet the Minnesota defense will be ready for his hurry-up antics and won’t fall for his dummy counts.
The Vikings’ defensive is led by Everson Griffen, who has 6.0 of Minnesota’s 9.0 sacks this season. As great as Aaron Rodgers has been, he has also been sacked 19 times, tied with Carson Palmer for top in the league. The Green Bay offensive line is a disaster right now. Injuries and offseason departures have left the Packers in quite a predicament. Green Bay’s O-line has become like a game of musical chairs, starting a different group of five in every game this year. Griffen should have a field day on whatever line Green Bay sends out there, hitting Rodgers early and often.
Aaron Rodgers is used to not having a run game to aid him, and that will likely be the case in this one. The Vikings are surrendering only 80 rushing yards a game (7th in NFL), combine that with the Packers’ bad line, and a rookie running back in Aaron Jones, and you get no help for Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
It’s Aaron Rodgers
When you add it all up, Minnesota’s defense isn’t great against the pass. They’re ranked 20th in passing yards allowed with 229 yards per game, their 9.0 sacks is 21st in the league, neither of which are intimidating numbers. The Vikings have forced four interceptions, putting them at 10th with along with eight other teams. Their passing defense is just too pedestrian to suggest they can slow down Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers leads the league with 13 touchdown passes. His 104.1 passer rating currently puts him fifth and his 1,367 yards is fourth. You can’t find a quarterback stat this year where Aaron Rodgers isn’t near the top of the league. He’s leading an offense that is putting up 27.4 points per contest (sixth in NFL) and he’s doing it despite the merry-go-round in front of him at offensive line.
The silver-lining for the Vikings is the availability of Jordy Nelson. Nelson was held out at the end of Green Bay’s win against Dallas, and has been banged up throughout the start of the season. Aaron Rodgers has thrown six of his 13 touchdowns to Nelson, and Nelson did not play in the Packers’ lone loss to Atlanta in Week 2. Jordy Nelson is dealing with a bad back, but practiced in full Wednesday, we’ll see how much the injury affects him on Sunday. If he is good to go, the Vikings have little chance of checking number 12.
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