The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings will kickoff Sunday Night at Lambeau Field. There is much on the line for both teams, making this rivalry game even more anticipatory. The Packers could have a chance to clinch the NFC’s top seed in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Vikings will be fighting for their playoff lives. A loss to the Packers would eliminate them from postseason contention. Coming into the game, both teams will be dealing with the loss of significant members of their respective teams. Of the players who are available (as of this moment), here are three matchups that we find very intriguing.
Kenny Clark vs Dalvin Cook
Last week, the Packers were fortunate to have Kenny Clark back after he missed a game on the COVID list. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Browns were able to torch the Packers defense for 219 yards on the ground. That total was, by far, the most Green Bay has allowed all season. This week, the Packers will face another great running back in Dalvin Cook.
What makes this one of the more intriguing matchups is that Kenny Clark is going to be a one-man show in the middle of the Packers’ line. Earlier today, Kingsley Keke and Tyler Lancaster were both placed on the Reserve/COVID List.
On the other side of the ball, Vikings running back running back Dalvin Cook has been activated from Minnesota’s Reserve/COVID list. In the Packers 34-31 loss to the Vikings earlier this season, Cook rushed 22 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. The Packers only allowed 90 rushing yards total in that game.
Prior to the Packers bye week, they had one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Since, the bye week, they have allowed over 100 rushing yards in each game.
Without a doubt, and especially in the frigid Lambeau weather, running the ball will be a major part of the Vikings game plan. It will be up to Kenny Clark and the rest of the Packers defense to contain them.
The Packers Secondary vs Justin Jefferson
The Green Bay Packers got good news today when Jaire Alexander was activated onto the active roster. That means he will not be going on season-ending IR after missing weeks with a shoulder injury. What is unclear at this moment is whether or not he will be available against the Vikings.
The Vikings, on the other hand, took a major blow after Adam Thielen was placed on IR today following ankle surgery. While that is certainly a hit to their passing game, they still have Justin Jefferson who recently set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons.
In their last matchup, Jefferson torched the Packers defense for 169 yards on eight catches and two touchdowns. Even if Jaire Alexander cannot play, the Packers still have Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas. The two will undoubtedly take turns guarding the young Vikings receiver. With Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos as the safety tandem, there are plenty of players who can guard Jefferson. The fact of the matter, though, is that Jefferson is going to get his yards. It will be up to the secondary to contain him as much as possible.
Davante Adams and MVS vs. the Vikings Secondary
The last matchup between the Vikings and Packers was a shootout. We have already discussed Justin Jefferson’s numbers, but those of Davante Adams and MVS were also impressive. MVS led the Packers’ receivers with 123 yards on four receptions and a touchdown. Adams had seven receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Even though the Packers have had to put multiple players on the Reserve/COVID List this week, MVS is one player they are getting back from that list this week.
The Green Bay Packers wide receiver core is now getting relatively healthy as they get closer to the playoffs. Amari Rodgers is on the Reserve/COVID List and Randall Cobb is still recovering from core surgery. However, with Adams, MVS, and Allen Lazard healthy, the passing game is as lethal as any in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Vikings have the sixth worst passing defense in the NFL. Despite the cold weather, the Packers will surly be attacking through the air often on Sunday.