As if worrying about Aaron Rodgers wasn’t enough, teams devising defensive plans to slow down the Green Bay Packers offense now must also account for a second Aaron. The newest one is running back Aaron Jones. The second-year running back has revitalized the Green Bay ground game, averaging 6.4 yards per carry with five rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception.
Make no mistake, Rodgers is the Aaron of the Green Bay offense who poses the most lethal threat. The veteran quarterback has 19 touchdowns passes and just one interception on the season. He’s now healthy and last week in Seattle was displaying those vintage Rodgers throws that drive defensive coordinators crazy. But there’s also no mistaking the fact that Aaron the quarterback can be made even more dangerous when Aaron the running back isn’t well contained.
The Vikings defense must slow down Jones and the Packers ground game, particularly on early downs. This will put Rodgers and the passing offense in long down and distances, giving them less flexibility and more predictability. That is what will key the Vikings pass rush to tee off, just as it did two weeks ago inside U.S. Bank Stadium when it decimated the Detroit Lions offense for 10 sacks.
Matchup of the Night: Danielle Hunter vs Bryan Bulaga
The last time Danielle Hunter played at U.S. Bank Stadium, he had 3.5 sacks to help lead a Vikings defense that sacked Matthew Stafford 10 times. The last time Hunter played against Green Bay, he had 1.0 sack. Hunter will try to keep his impressive 2019 season going on Sunday night against the Packers. The man who will be lined up across from him most often will likely be Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga. Hunter does switch with Everson Griffen from time-to-time, but for the most part his matchup will be Bulaga.
The Bears obviously were the better team Sunday night, so what do you think needs improvement besides the offensive line?
-- Don Reyerson
Offensive opportunism. Twice on Sunday night, the Vikings offense was set up by defensive takeaways with possessions in plus territory and twice they had to settle for a field goal rather than scoring touchdowns. In a game decided by five points, the inability to convert those turnovers and positive field position into touchdowns were significant.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was asked a Thanksgiving-related question earlier this week.
“What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Are you a pie guy or a turkey guy?”
“Probably a wine guy,” Zimmer quipped. “Honestly, I played in Dallas for, I keep saying I played. I coached in Dallas for 13 years and we always played on Thanksgiving and we’ve had two here that we played on Thanksgiving. So 15 of the years we have been having games. So usually my wife and I, kids, we would either have it the day before or typically the day after. Hopefully we won then I would be in a good mood. Turkey and wine. Red wine.”
Stat of the Week
A win on Sunday night would be the Vikings fifth against the Packers since Mike Zimmer became head coach and would give Zimmer a 5-4-1 record. Green Bay had won seven of the previous nine games before Zimmer took over in 2014.
National TV: NBC
Play-by-Play: Al Michaels
Analyst: Cris Collinsworth
Sideline: Michele Tafoya
National Radio: Westwood One
Play-by-play: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Jason Taylor
Local Radio: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline: Greg Coleman, Ben Leber