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5 Vikings-Packers Storylines to Watch

It all comes down to this: a Week 17 matchup between the Vikings and Packers with the NFC North title on the line. Both teams have clinched spots in the playoffs but both are also looking to add one more win to secure a division crown and a home playoff game next week. 

Here are five of the biggest Vikings-Packers storylines we'll be chasing in the build-up to Week 17…

1. Vikings, Packers meet to settle 2015 NFC North championship


**Even with the NFL's strategy of scheduling division games only in Week 17, it's not often that two teams meet in the season finale with a division title on the line. That is precisely the case on Sunday for the Vikings and Packers, though. Green Bay opened the season 6-0, the Vikings went on a mid-season five-game winning streak, and now each team enters Week 17 with 10 wins. The Vikings, who clinched their 28th playoff appearance last week, are in search of their 19th division title since 1961 while Green Bay clinched its 27th playoff appearances since 1961 and is vying for its 18th division crown in the same span.

2. Adrian Peterson chasing rushing title


**Speaking of titles, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has his sights set on a third NFL rushing title. He enters the regular season finale with 1,418 rushing yards, which is 64 yards ahead of Tampa Bay's Doug Martin and is already the fourth-highest single-season total in Vikings history. Martin is set to face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, who rank 5th in the NFL against the run (89.2 rushing yards per game allowed). Peterson also leads the NFL with seven games of 100 rushing yards and last week he scored his 10th rushing TD of the season, tying him for second all-time with Emmitt Smith at eight seasons with 10 rushing TDs (LaDainian Tomlinson is first all-time with nine).

3. Vikings OL looking for redemption vs. Packers defensive front

The Week 11 contest between these two teams was not a big reason why Peterson leads the League in rushing. Green Bay's defensive front fared well against the Vikings run game, holding Peterson to 45 yards (and 1 TD) on 13 carries, with a long run of just 11 yards for No. 28. The Vikings offensive line is in much better for this time around and will be looking to avenge the early-season performance.

4. Keep Rodgers in (the pocket) and then take him down


**A theme you will hear from Vikings defenders this week is: Keep Aaron Rodgers in the pocket. Typically, you want to force QBs "off their spot" to disrupt the passing game, just as the Vikings did the Eli Manning last week. But because of Rodgers' mobility and uncanny ability to break the pocket, buy time for his receivers and throw accurately on the run, it's better to contain Rodgers in the pocket and then apply pressure. The Vikings were mostly good in this strategy in the Week 11 meeting with Green Bay, but the few times Rodgers escaped the pocket he cashed in with TDs.

5. Both Vikings, Packers have some of the big boys banged up

At this point in the season, no one is healthy. It's just a matter of how beat up you are. The Vikings actually got healthier last week, as they welcomed back LB Anthony Barr, DT Linval Joseph and S Harrison Smith to the lineup after each had missed multiple games. LT Matt Kalil did leave last week's game with a calf injury, so his status bears monitoring throughout the week. Green Bay left last week's game in Arizona banged up on the offensive line, with LT David Bakhtiari not even suiting up because of injury and both RT Bryan Bulaga and C Corey Linsley leaving the game because of injury.

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