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Early Look: Vikings at Packers



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A division title is in the bag, but the Vikings still have plenty to play for.

Minnesota is now hoping for solid playoff positioning and a first-round bye, which can be helped by getting a win Saturday against a familiar foe.

The Vikings and Packers will square off for the 115th time (including two postseason games) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

Minnesota is 11-3 and clinched the NFC North on Sunday.

Green Bay is 7-7 and still alive in the playoff picture. The Packers fell 31-24 in Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

Here's an early look at Saturday's Border Battle:

Passing: Vikings quarterback Case Keenum completed 20 of 23 passes for 236 yards with two touchdowns against the Bengals. He had a passer rating of 138.4 on Sunday, and his completion percentage 87.0 was the second-highest for a game in Vikings history.

Keenum is 9-3 as a starter this season. Keenum has thrown for 3,219 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Teddy Bridgewater made his season debut in the fourth quarter.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned from a collarbone injury and completed 26 of 45 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions against the Panthers. He had a passer rating of 71.5. 

Rodgers has completed 154 of 238 passes (64.7 percent) for 1,675 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He has a passer rating of 97.2.

Packers backup Brett Hundley made seven starts in Rodgers' absence and threw for 1,534 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Rushing: Latavius Murray led the way on the ground Sunday, rushing for 76 yards and a score on 20 carries, while Jerick McKinnon added 24 yards on nine carries. Keenum had a 20 yard-run.

The Vikings hit the 100-yard mark as a team for the 11th time in 14 games.

Murray leads the Vikings with 662 yards and six touchdowns this season. McKinnon has 282 yards and three touchdowns.

The Vikings rushed for 100 total yards Sunday, and rank eighth in the NFL with 121.3 rushing yards per game.

Green Bay ran for 120 yards on 19 carries against the Panthers. Aaron Jones had 47 yards on three attempts, and Rodgers had 43 yards on six carries.

Jones leads Green Bay with 435 yards and has four touchdowns on the ground, which is tied with Jamaal Williams, who has 416 rushing yards.

The Packers rank 18th in rushing with 107.7 yards per game.

Receiving: McKinnon led the Vikings with 114 receiving yards on seven receptions. It was the first 100-yard game of his career.

Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen each had 30 yards, and Diggs caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. Tight end Kyle Rudolph also caught a touchdown.

Thielen now has 83 receptions for 1,191 yards and four scores on the season. He ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards.

Rudolph leads the Vikings with eight touchdown receptions, which is one off of his career high.

Randall Cobb led the Packers with seven catches for 84 yards and a score Sunday, and wide receiver Davante Adams had five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. Richard Rodgers had 77 receiving yards and a score. 

Adams leads the Panthers with 74 catches for 885 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. He is trying for his first 1,000-yard season of his career.

Jordy Nelson has six touchdowns, and Cobb is second on the team with 586 receiving yards.

Defense: The Vikings had one of their best performances of the season Sunday against Cincinnati. The unit gave up 161 total yards, the fewest allowed by Minnesota and ranks as the eighth-stingiest across the NFL in 2017. 

Minnesota allowed 46 rushing yards, the third-fewest of the season. The Vikings also gave up just 115 net passing yards, the lowest mark allowed all season.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks had a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Terence Newman also had a pick. They were the first interceptions of the season for both players.

Brian Robison had 2 sacks for the Vikings, and defensive end Danielle Hunter had a sack.

Everson Griffen leads the Vikings with 13 sacks, which is a career high, and safety Harrison Smith has a team-high three interceptions.

Minnesota ranks second in the NFL in both yards allowed per game (283.9) and points allowed per game (17.3).

Green Bay allowed 387 yards of offense to Carolina. Kenny Clark had a sack for the Packers, who did not force a turnover.

Linebacker Clay Matthews has 7.5 sacks, and linebacker Nick Perry has 7.0 sacks. Cornerback Damarious Randall leads the team with four interceptions.

The Packers rank 21st in yards allowed per game (23.8) and are 26th in the league in yards allowed per game (356.4).

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Kai Forbath made both field goal tries against the Bengals and hit all four extra points. He is 29 of 34 on field goals this season.

Punter Ryan Quigley averaged 43.4 yards on five punts and had one of them downed at the 2-yard line.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby made his three extra point tries Sunday and hit his field goal attempt. He is 14 of 18 on field goals this season.

Packers punter Justin Vogel averages 45.0 yards per punt.

Look back at photos through the years featuring games between the Vikings and Packers.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 52-60-2 all-time against Green Bay, a series that includes two playoff matchups. Minnesota is 1-1 against the Packers in the postseason.

A Vikings win would mean Minnesota sweeps the season series for the first time since 2009.

The teams have split each of the past two season series. Each team won on the road in 2015, but the Vikings and Packers each held serve at home in 2016.

Minnesota's longest win streak in the rivalry is seven games, a streak that spanned from 1975 to 1978. Green Bay's longest win streak was the first six times the teams met.

Last Meeting: Vikings 23, Packers 10, Oct. 15, 2017 in Minneapolis

The Vikings won the first meeting of the season series behind a defense that allowed just 10 points and 227 total yards of offense.

Minnesota struck first on a 27-yard screen pass from Keenum to McKinnon early in the second quarter, only to see the Packers tie the game four minutes later.

McKinnon scored on the ground from 3 yards out midway through the second quarter to give the Vikings a lead they wouldn't give up.

The Vikings led 14-10 at the break before Forbath padded the lead with a trio of second-half field goals.

Keenum threw for 239 yards with a touchdown an interception, while McKinnon had 109 total yards. Thielen had nine catches for 69 yards.

Smith, Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes each had interceptions for the Vikings defense, while Smith also notched 1.5 sacks.

Griffen and Robison had a sack apiece, and Linval Joseph split a sack.

The Vikings improved to 4-2 on the season, and won the second game of an eventual eight-game win streak.

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