In every NFL matchup, there are a seemingly endless amount of angles to analyze. It's hard to get to them all during the week of practice, and I'm sure there were some that slipped through the cracks despite all of the Vikings vs. Packers preview content we provided on vikings.com this week.
With kickoff fast approaching, here are a few final thoughts on tonight's Vikings-Packers contest.
How to Take in Tonight's Game Game Time: 7:25 p.m. CT TV:CBS/NFL NetworkRadio:Vikings Radio Network; KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130Mobile:NFL Mobile (exclusively on Verizon)
Bridgewater or Ponder? Vikings Are OK Either WayVikings nation had every reason to be excited about Teddy Bridgewater's future after last week's game against Atlanta, the first start of the rookie's career. Unfortunately, Bridgewater also injured his ankle in the start and his status for tonight remains up in the air as of this posting.
The good news for the Vikings is that whether Bridgewater plays or not, they will be just fine at quarterback. If Bridgewater can go, it will be another exciting moment in the young quarterback's career as he looks to build upon his first start and challenge the Green Bay Packer defense. If Bridgewater can't go, it'll be Christian Ponder who gets the nod. Ponder has experience and will be able to run Norv Turner's offense just the way the veteran offensive coordinator wants it run against this defense.
Either way, the A topic for the Vikings offense versus the Packers is the running game. Green Bay ranks last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (176.0) and no team has been rushed against more than Green Bay; they've also given up five rushing touchdowns in four games.
Top Target: WR Jordy NelsonThere are a lot of uncertainties heading into each NFL matchup, and tonight's Vikings-Packers tilt is no exception. But here's one thing of which we can be certain: Jordy Nelson will be Target No. 1.
We can be certain of that because Nelson is clearly Aaron Rodgers' top target, as he leads the NFL in targets (49), receptions (33), receiving yards (459), and receptions that resulted in a first down (24). With that being the case, it's fair to surmise that Nelson is also the Vikings defense's No. 1 target, in the passing game at least. If the Vikings are going to slow down one of the NFL's best passing attacks, they will certainly first have to neutralize that attack's preferred target.
Weather Will be a Factor TonightTonight's forecast for Green Bay calls for an 80% chance of rain at 7:00pm and 8:00pm and a 90% chance of rain at 9:00pm and 10:00pm. The temperature is supposed to hover in the low 60s and winds are forecasted to stay below the 10mph mark.
There are varying opinions about how rain and a wet surface impact a football game – some say the rain is an equalizer while others believe a wet surface aids the passing game because it makes it tougher to gain traction for pass rushers and defensive backs. Another aspect of the weather is injuries. Does a slick surface further inhibit players dealing with certain injuries? Or does it slow the game down so players with injuries aren't at as big of a disadvantage?
Ultimately, we'll find out tonight once the game gets going. One thing that is apparent, though, is that rain will be falling on Lambeau Field for tonight's Border Battle.
Green Bay May Try to get Eddie Lacy Going TonightRodgers is as good as it gets and he's had great success against the Vikings, but don't be surprised if Green Bay puts an emphasis on the running game tonight – at least in the early stages of the game to keep the Vikings off-balance. The Packers have run the ball just 37.2% of the time this season, which is down 5.5% from last season's clip. Starting running back Eddie Lacy did have success against the Vikings last season, rushing for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 54 carries in two games. The Vikings have played well against the run for most of the season, but New England did find some holes in the defense in Week 2 (37 carries, 150 yards, one touchdown) and the Falcons scored on a 48-yard run last week.