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5 Vikings-Packers Storylines to Watch

Border Battle 113 is set for Christmas Eve Day, as the Vikings and Packers meet in the season's penultimate week with much on the line. The Vikings enter the game with a 7-7 record and off a home loss to Indianapolis, while the Packers sit at 8-6 and enter the game following a road division win over Chicago.
Here are five storylines to watch in the buildup to the Vikings-Packers matchup on Saturday…

1. Bounce back time for Vikings defense

The vaunted Vikings defense is coming off an uncharacteristic performance in which it permitted the Colts to total 411 yards and 34 points. This is the same defense that put Green Bay's offense on its least productive outing of the season – a 14-point effort in Week 2. The Vikings will be looking for more of the latter than the former on Saturday in Green Bay.

2. Bradford, Diggs look for encore performance

The first matchup this season between these two teams was in Week 2, a 17-14 Vikings victory. The game marked QB Sam Bradford's first start, and it was a night in which Bradford found top receiver Stefon Diggs nine times for 182 yards and one touchdown. Bradford and Diggs were particularly sharp that night, as the quarterback hit Diggs on nine of 11 targets and completed 22 of his 31 passes for 286 yards. Diggs was dangerous after the catch and his touchdown gave the Vikings a 10-point lead late in the 3rd quarter.

3. Converted RB Ty Montgomery gives Packers offense a dynamic twist

When it comes to Green Bay's offense, threat No. 1 is always QB Aaron Rodgers. That remains the case this week, but someone else on the Packers offense has risen to the occasion of late and might actually be atop the Vikings priority list for this week's game. Converted RB Ty Montgomery has given Green Bay some pop in the running game. He ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries last week against the Bears, and he faces a Vikings defense that surrendered 161 rushing yards to the Colts last week, including 101 yards on 26 carries to Frank Gore. The Colts ability to run the ball neutralized the Vikings pass rush, something the Vikings can't afford to have happen while playing against Rodgers at Lambeau Field.

4. Vikings must earn the right to rush

If the Vikings can find a way to slow down Montgomery and the Packers ground game, then the strength of the Vikings defense will be able to do what it does best – rush the passer. The Vikings defense line has combined for 30.5 sacks this season, the highest total in the NFL. The Vikings are the only team in the League to have three defensive ends with 7.0+ sacks – Danielle Hunter (10.5), Everson Griffen (8.0) and Brian Robison (7.0). The Vikings sacked Rodgers five times in their first meeting and it'll take that much pressure on Saturday to slow down a Packers offense that is playing well down the stretch.

5. Playoff hopes remain alive as season enters final two-game stretch

They may be fleeting after the Vikings loss to Indianapolis last week, but playoff possibility still exists for the Vikings as they prepare to head to Green Bay for Week 16. The possibility exists because the Vikings got so much help from other teams last week, and they'll need a win of their own plus more help to stay alive against this week. A Vikings win plus a loss by Tampa Bay keeps the Vikings alive for the season's final week.

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