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NOTEBOOK: Vikings Hope to Limit Packers Success in Red Zone

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings defense ranks near the top of the league in a number of statistical categories, including third-down percentage or rushing yards allowed per game.

Minnesota has also been stout in the red zone, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on just five of their 13 trips inside the 20-yard line. That 38.5 success rate ranks fourth in the NFL.

The Vikings will need to be strong in the red zone at U.S. Bank Stadium this Sunday against a Packers team that is the league's best at finding the end zone in the crucial area.

Through five games, the Packers have been the NFL's best offense in the red zone, scoring a touchdown on 15 of their 19 possessions (78.9 percent). 

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer explained why Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his offense is so effective in the red zone.

"They're good," Zimmer said. "Rodgers scrambles all the time when he's in the red zone, it creates time for the receivers to get open. 

"They've got good receivers, and he puts the ball on the money," Zimmer added.

Rodgers has been a key component to Green Bay's success, as he's thrown 11 of the 15 red-zone scores. Running backs Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones have run for two scores apiece.

Zimmer noted that Rodgers has a variety of ways to beat a team when it matters most.

"In the red zone it's tighter, but when he's moving around in the pocket there, it gives them a lot more time," Zimmer said. "He doesn't miss many shots when he's got them. If they're a little bit open, he's got them. 

"Guys get their backs turned, he throws back shoulders … throws fades on the outside," Zimmer added. "They're tough."

View images from the Vikings practice on Thursday. October 12 at Winter Park.

Sirles ready to roll at left guard

Jeremiah Sirles has had to prepare for numerous roles through the first five games of the season.

But with left guard Nick Easton out for Sunday's game against the Packers, Sirles has locked in at a singular position this week.

Sirles will make his 12th career start and first this season.

"It's definitely changed my preparation up this week as far as being able to focus on one spot," Sirles said. "Usually I go into a game focusing on all four spots (left and right tackle, left and right guard) if I were to have to be thrust into battle.

"Mentally, this week has been easier for me just to focus in at that left guard spot and really hone in on the game plan and the smaller details," Sirles added.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday that being able to plug Sirles in at any spot on the offensive line makes him an asset on the Vikings.

"He's played all those positions … he's played all of them, I think he's played center, too, in his career," Zimmer said. "It's the reason why he's valuable."

Sirles played the final 10 offensive snaps Monday night against the Bears.

The former Nebraska standout said Friday that there's differences in playing tackle and guard against the Packers, with one of the main ones having to go up against Green Bay defensive tackle Mike Daniels play after play.

"At tackle there's a lot more space and time to deal with things, things just happen quicker inside," Sirles said. "Guys are on you a lot faster, and I've got a great challenge this week going against a guy like Daniels.

"He's fast and strong and quick," Sirles added. "You have to get your hands down and get ready to go."

Floyd, Treadwell could see increased roles with Diggs out

With Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs out of Sunday's game with a groin injury, the onus is on other players at the position to step up.

Zimmer said Friday that he'll rely on wide receivers Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell to help fill the void left by Diggs, who leads the team with 395 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

"Obviously, it's going to change a little bit because he's a good player," Zimmer said of Diggs being out. "Michael Floyd will get some reps. Treadwell, same deal."

Treadwell has five catches for 42 yards this season.

Floyd, who was suspended the first four games of the season, had one catch for 19 years Monday night in his season debut.

Floyd has 11 catches for 191 yards and no touchdowns in two career regular-season contests against Green Bay when he was with Arizona.

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