As the 2016 regular season starts to wind down, the significance of certain games ramps up.
NFL.com "Around the NFL"* *writer Conor Orr put together a list of the "five best games remaining on the NFL schedule." Among the matchups is the divisional showdown between the Vikings and Packers on Dec. 24. Orr wrote:
The most surprising team in football – the Detroit Lions – have a bear of a schedule down the stretch with games against the Giants this week followed by the Cowboys and Packers at home. Minnesota and Green Bay, however, kick off their final three with games against the unpredictable Colts and listless Bears, respectively.
Orr said what makes the Vikings-Packers game so intriguing is that there are three teams vying for the division title with two playoff spots potentially up for grabs.
Depending on how the remainder of the schedule breaks out, we could see a very different NFC playoff picture depending on who wins and loses. As we mentioned before, [Lions quarterback Matt Stafford's] injured hand adds an element of intrigue given how well he's played in clutch situations so far. Does that change?
The other four games on Orr's list were as follows: Lions at Giants (Dec. 18), Patriots at Broncos (Dec. 18), Buccaneers at Cowboys (Dec. 18) and Ravens at Steelers (Dec. 25).
Vikings tabbed in SI's top 25 'tech-savvy' sports teams
It's the age of technology, and according to Sports Illustrated, the Vikings are one of the 25 most tech-savvy sports teams of the year. The list includes international franchises in addition to organizations throughout the United States.
Sports Illustrated's Mark J. Burns ranked the Vikings at No. 17. He wrote:
At the start of the 2016-17 NFL season, the Vikings unveiled the $1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which includes LED lighting, 1,300 WiFi access points, roughly 2,000 HD flat-screen televisions and a new high-tech, interactive fan experience called Vikings Voyage. Inside the 10,000-square-foot museum, fans have an opportunity to test their vertical jump, hit defensive-line pads and put on a virtual reality headset as they catch passes from a quarterback.
Along with its new stadium, Minnesota has been progressive on the social front, too. The Vikings have been one of the few NFL teams to creatively integrate Vine into their social strategy. Just recently, the team partnered with Tagboard — a Seattle, Washington-based social display and research platform company — to publish Snapchat content and account information in-stadium. With the recent rollout of Snapchat Spectacles, the digital staff recently snagged a pair of glasses and started experimenting with the new piece of hardware last weekend.
The Vikings were one of two Minnesota teams on the list. Burns also highlighted the Twins at No. 20, praising the players' use of technology in addition to virtual reality used at Target Field.
Making the top of the list were three NBA teams: the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.
Vikings have held every 2016 opponent to under 300 yards passing
The 2016 season has been an up-and-down one for the Vikings, but one area where the team has been especially consistent is against opposing passers.
In Minnesota's 13 games thus far, its defense has held every opponent's quarterback to under 300 yards passing. Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune wrote:
In the modern-day NFL, where footballs are flung all over the field and quarterbacks have thrown for at least 300 yards 99 times this season, the Vikings are one of three teams that have yet to allow a 300-yard passer. Remarkably, the highest passing total the Vikings have given up was 271 yards to Marcus Mariota in Week 1. Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler and Blake Bortles, who had 257 against them in Sunday's 25-16 win, were the only other quarterbacks to top 250 yards. The Texans and Cardinals are the two other teams that have yet to allow a 300-yard passer in 2016. We'll see if the Vikings can keep it going this weekend against Andrew Luck, who has four 300-yard performances for the Colts this season.