In Week 7, the Green Bay Packers went down to Houston and got a decisive dominating win. Green Bay took an early lead and never looked back. Now after two straight road games the Packers head home to Lambeau Field to dance with the Minnesota Vikings for a second time. The Vikings are coming in off a bye week and are really struggling in 2020 with a 1-5 record. Like any division game, throw the records out the window and expect a battle. The Packers need to handle business while the Vikings would like nothing more than to give the Packers their second loss on the season. What will happen as the Vikings Week 8 roster prepares to travel to Green Bay? Find out everything you need to know.
Jefferson Airplane Flying
The Vikings come into this matchup with the same players at key positions as the week one meeting. The offense is middle of the road in the league when it comes to scoring. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had his first 300-yard game just a couple of weeks ago. In addition to not raking up the yard, he has struggled with decision making. as his 11 : 10 TD : INT ratio shows.
Dalvin Cook has been banged up and missed time but he is a stud at running back. Averaging over five yards a carry with seven touchdowns, he is an explosive playmaker capable of gassing any defense. His backup, Alexander Mattison, isn’t a slouch either. While he isn’t Cook, he is a hard runner that is not afraid of contact. With fewer carriers, Mattison is averaging 4.5 a carry on the season.
At wide receiver, Adam Thielen has been solid for a few seasons now. Often matched up with an opponent’s top cornerback, he still is able to produce. Through six games Thielen has found the end zone seven times. The biggest surprise, however, is the emergence of first-round pick Justin Jefferson. He has had a few clunker games, but when they get Jefferson going he looks to be a future star in this league. Of his three 100-yard games, two of them he went over a hundred and sixty yards. He has good hands and is deadly after the catch. The Packers will be focused on bottling him up and stopping the Jefferson airplane from taking off.
Coach Mike Zimmer‘s scheme and the Vikings have long been known as a dominating defense. When teams had Minnesota on the schedule they knew points would be hard to come by. This season however they are middle of the league in all key statistics and have yet to establish an identity. A big part of this step backward starts on the defensive line in player availability. Free-agent signing Michael Pierce opted out at the beginning of the season leaving a huge hole in the middle. Add to that to the fact that all world edge rusher Danielle Hunter has been lost to a neck injury and it’s a recipe for disaster.
The Vikings traded for another fearsome edge rusher to pair with Hunter. Yannick Ngakoue was leading the team in sacks until a surprise move that sent him to Baltimore. With the season lost, Minnesota felt they wouldn’t be able to re-sign in Ngakoue so they decided to cut bait and get some kind of return. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the return on their investment was a big-time loss. They gave up what looks like a high second-round pick and received a playoff-bound Ravens third. Bad business to put it nicely.
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The backbone of this defensive unit still resides in the linebackers and safeties. Eric Kendricks leads the team in tackles in is always around the football. He brings a high football IQ and gets sideline-to-sideline. Next to him is a smaller Eric Wilson and Ryan Connelly who is starting for the injured Anthony Barr. Behind them are two really talented safeties. Anthony Harris has yet to grab a pic this season but he had 6 in 2019. Harrison Smith is a do all kind of player that needs to be accounted for each play. He is a smart player that can make a play or two that can tilt the game.
Like the first matchup, the youth and depth in the cornerback room are going to be tested. The starters Holton Hill and Mike Hughes will not be able to stop Davante Adams alone. That is if they even play at all, as both are currently dealing with injuries. While rookies Cam Dantzler and Jeff Gladney have shown upside, they still have struggles and growing pains. If the Vikings’ goal is to try and take Adams away with over the top help, the other Packers pass catchers need to rise to the challenge and feast on this secondary. This is a division game the Packers have the edge and need to break the Vikings early.
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