For the second straight week, all four FPC Vikings staff members are picking the Vikings to come out on top. However, the degree to which the arch rival Packers will compete varies drastically.
Here are the Full Press Vikings Predictions for Vikings at Packers.
Madison Parkhill: Minnesota 24, Green Bay 20
This game will come down to the health of Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers doesn’t play, the Vikings should roll by double digits. If Rodgers does play, the game will be much closer. Regardless, I’m not sure Rodgers will be mobile enough to avoid pressure from the Vikings’ talented defensive line. On offense, I expect Dalvin Cook to have a better game running the ball in his second game back from the ACL injury. Stefon Diggs has dominated when facing slower cornerbacks and gets 35-year-old Tramon Williams this week. I like him to have another big game. Adam Thielen should again see underneath work and should lead the team in targets. Even facing Rodgers at Lambeau, I expect the Vikings to move to 2-0.
– Madison Parkhill writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @MadPark44.
Roger Dier: Minnesota 28, Green Bay 17
The computer models give the Vikings a better chance (57%) to win Sunday. Vegas has made the outcome a “pick ‘em” game, negating the standard three-point home-field advantage routinely given by odds-makers.
If the Vikings win, and I believe they will, they’ll do it with Cook and with the best defense in the NFL. Green Bay didn’t see Cook last year, but the Packers will see a lot of Cook on Sunday. Expect the Vikings to run at or around Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who slows with each game but continues to speed his reputation as a cheap-shot artist. In the final moments of the Sunday game between Green Bay and Chicago, with the Bears facing a 4th-and-forever situation, Matthews thought it wise to hit Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky from behind and late. Plus, Matthews targeted Trubisky’s head. The Bears got a new set of downs, but did nothing with Matthews’ gift.
The agile and shifty Cook will hurt Green Bay running the ball, and quarterback Kirk Cousins will toss it his way every time Cook is open. Outside the scrum of the interior lines, I’ll take Cook over Green Bay’s tacklers every time.
On defense, the Packers won’t face a defensive line as explosive and experienced as Minnesota’s until they play the Vikings in Minnesota later in the season. Defensive end Everson Griffen and Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari know each other well. Green Bay’s other tackle, Bryan Buluga has seen defensive end Danielle Hunter before, but not the 2018 Hunter model. Hunter is like Alan Page in the full bloom of his prime, and it will be a long day for Buluga.
The Packers interior offensive line of left guard Lane Taylor, center Corey Linsley and right guard Justin McCray face the best defensive tackle duo in the NFL in Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson. It won’t matter who plays quarterback for Green Bay Sunday. Pressure on the edges and pressure up the middle will make it a long afternoon for the Green Bay offense.
It’ll be Dalvin and the Defense carrying the Vikings past Green Bay.
– Roger Dier writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings and the NHL. Follow him @Dierstraits1.
Clayton Brooks: Minnesota 31, Green Bay 13 (conditionally)
After just one week, the Vikings and Packers are already sitting atop the division heading into their Sunday showdown. Though the Vikings have the better overall team, the Packers have the better quarterback. This likely wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it was someone other than Rodgers. As seen this past weekend, he’s talented enough to win games with just his own arm, with little support from the rest of the team around him.
However, Rodgers was hurt in that same game and is questionable to play this Sunday. As we saw for the time he was out, this Packers team can’t compete without him.
So it goes like this: if Rodgers plays, as much as I’d still like to say the Vikings can still win, I think the Lambeau crowd and Rodgers’ return from last year’s injury (at the hands of linebacker Anthony Barr) maybe just enough motivation to get Green Bay past the Vikings, like 20-17. Without Rodgers, fans at Lambeau are likely to witness a lopsided affair.
– Clayton Brooks writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @ClaytonRBrooks2.
Sam Smith: Minnesota 23, Green Bay 21
Obviously, if Rodgers sits out, then the Vikings should win and win comfortably, like they did twice last season. Even in the event Rodgers does play, last week provided a little bit of a blueprint for how to get the Packer offense off-kilter. In the second half, Rodgers faced almost no pressure, which was ideal, given his knee injury kept him fairly immobile. Had the Bears kept up their first half pass rush, they would have won the game. Had they made plays in the secondary that were there for the taking, they would have won the game.
Minnesota is the team most qualified to finish what the Bears started. They have the personnel to get a decent pass rush with just four and the cover ability to force Rodgers to hold onto the ball. But more importantly, they are one of the most effective blitzing teams in football. Expect a lot of Barr and Eric Kendricks in the backfield Sunday, and a lot of Harrison Smith all over the field, as per usual.
Offensively, I am not quite as confident in the Minnesota offense. The Packers put a clamp on the Chicago passing game in the second half, but what kept the Bears somewhat successful was running and running a lot. Minnesota, on the other hand, was wrecked in the run game last week. Regardless of running back personnel, I have little faith the Minnesota line can maintain a consistent push on Green Bay’s greatest defensive asset, it’s interior front.
What all this amounts to is a relatively low scoring day for both sides. Rodgers will get his in spots, as will Cousins and the Viking offense. But overall, this will come down to the Minnesota defense. I think it will be too strong to let up the killer big play like the Bears let up, and they hold on in a tight one.
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