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Final Thoughts: Vikings vs. Packers

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.

With kickoff fast-approaching, here are a few final thoughts about today's game.

How to Take in Today's Game
Game Time: 3:25 p.m. CT
Radio: Vikings Radio Network; KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130
Mobile: NFL Mobile (exclusively on Verizon)

Lots of mano a mano today

Green Bay's last three opponents have all employed man defense to try and slow down Aaron Rodgers and Co. And to a large degree, it's worked. Even the usually zone-heavy Detroit Lions incorporated man-to-man defense into their plan. You can expect the Vikings to do the same today, but you can also expect the Packers to have developed answers to that during the week of practice. This means you may see a lot of motion, stacked and bunched alignments, switch releases and rub routes from Green Bay. It will all come down to who can execute their plan the best and which team can make the right adjustments during the course of the game.

Packers could be quick on offense

Rodgers is nursing a banged up right shoulder, the Vikings have an imposing defensive line and the home crowd figures to be loud early. That all adds up to it making a lot of sense for the Packers to use the quick game in the early stages. This could be a quick passing game to help neutralize the pass rush and generate a rhythm offensively. It could be a no-huddle or muddle huddle to prevent the Vikings from subbing the way they'd like and to try to neutralize the crowd. Green Bay's offense may not be playing well of late, but they will certainly be prepared and come in with a solid plan. It will all come down to execution.

Staying ahead of schedule

Every team every week puts an emphasis on staying ahead of schedule in the down and distance department. This week, though, it's particularly important for the Vikings offense. LT Matt Kalil has been outstanding for the Vikings through nine games, but this week he's been battling a toe injury; he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday and was limited on Friday. Green Bay's best pure pass rusher is LB Clay Matthews. Green Bay has moved Matthews to inside LB recently, but they do play him at his ordinary pass-rushing, outside LB position in obvious passing situations. With all things being equal, the Kalil-Matthews matchup is a great one. With Kalil dealing with a toe injury, though, the Vikings will be better off without dealing with Matthews pinning his ears back on 3rd and longs. 

Running game en vogue?

The NFL is a passing league. Rodgers is about as good as it gets at the QB position. And a lot of people are waiting to see a lot more from the Vikings passing game. But today, don't be surprised if the running games are en vogue. The Vikings enter with the NFL's top rushing offense and with the NFL's leading rusher. Plus, Adrian Peterson averages 116.5 rushing yards per game against the Packers in 15 contests. Green Bay's bread and butter is the pass, but if Eddie Lacy returns to the lineup then Green Bay may be more of a threat on the ground. The Vikings run defense has improved this season, but Lacy averages 108.5 rushing yards per game against the Vikings. Given the cold weather and the success each running back has had against the Vikings, stopping the run could be just as important as rushing the passer for each of these defenses today. 

Weather – cold and dark

Speaking of the weather…the forecast calls for a kickoff temperature of 33 degrees with winds out of the south at 15 miles per hour. There is no precipitation in the forecast and the temperature won't drop significantly until later in the evening. Also, sunset will occur at 4:39 pm this evening, meaning the look (and feel) for nearly three quarters of the game will be that of a night game.

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