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Early Look: Vikings vs. Packers

* EAGAN, Minn. —* A pair of division rivals will meet in prime time looking to stay in the NFC North race in a game with sizable playoff implications.

The Vikings and Packers will renew their longstanding rivalry at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is at 7:20 p.m. (CT).

Both teams trail Chicago (7-3, 2-1 NFC North) in the division race.

Minnesota sits at 5-4-1 and 1-1-1 in the division after losing to the Bears on Sunday. The Vikings are currently in second place in the NFC North.

Green Bay is in third place with a 4-5-1 record and 1-1-1 showing in the division so far in 2018. The Packers fell to the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football in Week 11.

Minnesota would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs if they started today.

Here’s a look at the Vikings Week 12 matchup against Green Bay:

Passing: Kirk Cousins had some ups and downs against the Bears. Cousins completed 30 of 46 passes for 262 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Cousins had a passer rating of 76.5 and was sacked twice.

The quarterback has completed 289 of 409 passes (70.7 percent) for 2,947 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has a season-long passer rating of 99.3.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 21 of 30 passes for 332 passing yards with two touchdowns against Seattle. He was sacked five times and has a passer rating of 128.8.

Rodgers has thrown for 3,073 yards with 19 touchdowns and just one interception this season. His quarterback rating is 102.2.

Rushing: The Vikings struggled on the ground against Chicago, gaining just 22 yards on 14 carries.

Dalvin Cook had nine carries for 12 yards and a fumble, and Latavius Murray had five yards on four attempts.

Murray leads the Vikings with 422 rushing yards and five touchdowns, and Cook has 199 yards.

Minnesota ranks 31st in the NFL at 84.7 rushing yards per game and has six total rushing touchdowns, which is tied for the third-fewest in the league.

Green Bay rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries against Seattle, as running back Aaron Jones had 40 yards and a score on 11 carries.

Jones leads Green Bay with 534 yards on 84 attempts (6.4 yards per carry) and has a team-high five rushing touchdowns.

Receiving: Stefon Diggs continued his dominance against the Bears, catching 13 passes for 126 yards and a score. He now has six touchdowns in six career games against Chicago.

Adam Thielen had seven catches for 66 yards, and Aldrick Robinson had two catches for 24 yards and a touchdown.

Thielen leads the NFL with 85 catches and is third with 1,013 yards. He also has seven touchdowns. Diggs has 71 receptions for 713 yards and five touchdowns.

Davante Adams led the Packers with 10 catches for 166 yards against the Seahawks. Jones and tight end Robert Tonyan each had touchdown receptions.

Adams is on pace for a career year. He has 72 catches for 953 yards so far. He also has nine touchdowns, and will have this third straight double-digit touchdown season with one more score.

Tight end Jimmy Graham left Thursday’s game but is Green Bay’s second-leading receiver with 34 catches for 452 yards. He is one of three players with two touchdown catches.

Defense: The Vikings defense allowed 308 total yards and a pair of touchdowns and field goals apiece in the loss to the Bears.

Chicago converted six of its 12 tries on third downs, but the Vikings still lead the NFL with a third-down allowance rate of 28.3 percent on the season.

Safety Anthony Harris had a pair of interceptions for Minnesota while defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson forced a fumble, which was recovered by safety Harrison Smith. Linebacker Eric Wilson had a sack against the Bears.

The Vikings currently rank fifth in yards allowed per game (320.8) and are 11th in points allowed per game (22.9).

Defensive end Danielle Hunter leads Minnesota with 11.5 sacks. Smith and Anthony Harris are tied for the team lead with three interceptions.

Green Bay’s defense is 12th in yards allowed per game (349.1), and the Packers are 18th in with 24.3 points allowed per game.

The Packers allowed 378 total yards to Seattle, including 173 on the ground.

Linebacker Kyler Fackrell leads Green Bay with 8.0 sacks. Three Packers have one interception apiece.

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Dan Bailey made both of his field goal tries against Chicago and has made 14 of 17 field goals this season.

Punter Matt Wile averages 44.5 yards per punt this year, but his lone blocked punt came against the Packers in Week 2.

Ameer Abdullah made his Vikings debut and had 57 yards on a pair of kickoff returns.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby made one of his two field goal tries against Seattle. The veteran is 20 of 26 on field goals this season. Packers punter JK Scott averages 45.0 yards per punt.

Neither the Vikings nor Packers have returned a kick or punt for a touchdown in 2018. The teams also haven’t allowed a punt or kickoff return for a score. Green Bay blocked a punt for a touchdown in Week 2 against Minnesota.

Over The Years

This will be the 117th overall meeting between the Vikings and Packers, which is the most games against one opponent in Minnesota’s franchise history. Minnesota is 53-60-3 all-time against Green Bay.

The Vikings are 52-59-3 in the regular season against their heated rivals from the NFC North. The teams have also met twice in the playoffs, and each have a postseason win.

Minnesota has had the upper hand of late, winning four of the past six meetings. That includes winning both games in 2017, the Vikings first sweep in the series since 2009.

The Vikings can’t sweep the series this year, but they can ensure they don’t have a loss against Green Bay for the second straight year.

Last meeting: Vikings 29, Packers 29, Sept. 16, 2018, in Green Bay

The Vikings and Packers played out one of the most dramatic and thrilling installments on the rivalry in recent years at Lambeau Field.

Minnesota trailed by double digits entering the fourth quarter but mounted a furious rally for just the third tie in the history of the Border Battle.

Green Bay led 20-7 when Cousins hit Diggs for a 3-yard score to jolt the Vikings to life.

The Packers added a field goal, but Cousins and Diggs connected for a 75-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, a play that remains Minnesota’s longest touchdown of the 2018 season.

Green Bay added a pair of late field goals for a 29-21 lead before Cousins led the Vikings on a wild final drive. He connected with Thielen for a 22-yard score with 31 seconds left before hitting Diggs for a 2-point play to tie the game.

Crosby missed a 52-yard field goal on the final play of regulation, a theme that showed up again in overtime.

The Vikings got the ball twice in overtime but missed field goals at the end of both drives, including a 35-yard try that went wide left on the final play of the game.

Cousins finished with 425 passing yards and four scores. Diggs (nine catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns) and Thielen (12 catches for 131 yards and a score) became the first tandem of Vikings receivers to each have 100 yards in the same game since 2014.

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