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5 Vikings-Packers Storylines To Follow

It's a game that needs no introduction. It's Vikings vs. Packers. And this week, it's on NBC's Sunday Night Football and it's the regular season debut of U.S. Bank Stadium. Sunday night's game is also the first time these two clubs will see each other since the Vikings won the NFC North title in Week 17 at Lambeau Field, ending the Packers four-year run atop the division. Here are five Vikings-Packers storylines to follow in the build-up to Sunday night's game.

1. Adrian Peterson, running game aim to get on track

The Vikings were able to find a way to win last week in Tennessee despite no offensive touchdowns and only 31 yards rushing by Adrian Peterson. It's good the team was still able to find a way to get the job done, but the Vikings don't want to make a habit out of either offensive shortcoming. After not playing in the preseason, Peterson and the entire offense got one game under their belts together last week in Tennessee and they'll look to build upon that heading into the Week 2 showdown. Peterson has a productive past against the rival Packers, with 1,859 yards rushing and 13 total touchdowns in 17 games.

2. Tackle. Tackle. Tackle.

A big theme this week for the Vikings defense will be tackling well. It's an important goal for a defense each week, but it becomes especially in focus this week because Green Bay is bringing Eddie Lacy to town. At 5-11, 234 pounds, Lacy is a compact and physical runner but he also has nimble feet and good balance, which makes him hard to bring downs. Lacy broke several tackles last week in Jacksonville, including one behind the line of scrimmage on a screen pass that ultimately turned into a 17-yard gain. He's had a history of getting away from Vikings defenders, too, but the Vikings will look to learn from history and improve their tackling on Lacy and the rest of his offensive teammates this week.

3. Vikings, Packers offenses look to stay clean

Both the Vikings and Packers offenses have had better days than they had last week. Green Bay was certainly good enough last week, scoring three touchdowns in the first half and finishing the game with 27. But Aaron Rodgers finished with 199 yards, including only 85 in the second half. The Vikings offense couldn't get anything going on the ground and they scored no offensive touchdowns. So there is room for improvement for both teams. At the end of the day, though, both offenses contributed to their teams winning the game and a big part of the contribution was clean play in terms of sacks and turnovers. Green Bay allowed only one sack of Rodgers and the Vikings gave up none to Tennessee, while neither offense turned the ball over. Keeping the quarterback clean and not giving the opposing offense extra possessions and short fields will be a key to victory on Sunday night.

4. What's up with Xavier Rhodes?

Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes was an unexpected inactive last week in Tennessee because of a knee injury that happened right in front of the game. The Vikings defense responded well, with Trae Waynes stepping up to tally 12 tackles in his second career start and the rest of the defense banding together to hold the Titans to 16 points and only 64 rushing yards, and to also score two touchdowns. Rhodes' status will likely remain uncertain up to game time this week, but his return would be a welcome one given the caliber of passing offense Green Bay brings to the table.

5. A step toward the next step for Vikings defense

The Vikings defense came into its own last season in Mike Zimmer's second year at the helm. They ranked No. 5 in scoring and it became apparent the defense was the identity of the team. One question surrounding the team this past offseason was: Can the Vikings defense take the next step? It certainly looked like they could last week in Tennessee, as the group registered a dominant performance in which it collected two sacks, scored two touchdowns and allowed only 10 points until the Titans score a late touchdown. If the defense can author a similarly impressive performance against this week's opponent, then observers will really take notice and the question will change from "Can the Vikings defense take then next step? to "How big of a next step will the Vikings defense take?"

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