EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. – With a dominant 49-17 win over the Giants Sunday night, the Vikings clinched a spot in the playoffs. That's not quite good enough for them, though. They now have their sights set on beating their division rivals in Green Bay to top the NFC North division and secure the No. 3 seed.
Minnesota's game has been flexed from its originally scheduled noon kickoff to the 7:30 p.m. (CT) prime time slot for the second week in a row. A win would increase the Vikings' regular season record to 11-5 and give them home-field advantage to host Seattle in the first round of the playoffs. Here are some things to consider in our glance ahead:
Passing:Over the past three games, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has averaged 244.7 passing yards per game and has thrown six touchdowns. On Dec. 20, Bridgewater became the first Vikings quarterback to throw for four touchdowns since former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre did it in January 2010. Bridgewater is ranked No. 5 in the NFL among qualifying passers with a 102.7 passer rating in December over the past two seasons. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off a loss to Arizona in which he was sacked eight times. This December, Rodgers has averaged 211.5 yards per game and has recorded six passing touchdowns and three interceptions.
Rushing:Heading into Week 17, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with 1,418 rushing yards this season. Peterson recorded his seventh 100-plus-yard rushing game of the season Sunday against the Giants, and he scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the year. Running back Jerick McKinnon also scored two touchdowns for the Vikings on Sunday. Packers running back Eddie Lacy is No. 18 in the NFL for rushing yards, and he recorded 100 yards against Minnesota on Nov. 22. During December, however, Lacy has been limited to an average of 52.8 rushing yards per game.
Receiving:For Minnesota, rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs leads the team in receiving yards (712), while tight end Kyle Rudolph leads in touchdowns (five). Green Bay's biggest receiver threats are Randall Cobb and James Jones, who have 792 and 788 total yards, respectively. Jones has led the Packers in receiving yards for the past two games.
Special Teams:Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has been on a roll as of late, making 10 of his last 11 field goal attempts, including four from beyond 50 yards. Walsh did miss a PAT in Minnesota's win over the Giants Sunday. Packers kicker Mason Crosby was 5-for-5 against Minnesota on Nov. 22. After going through a slump during the 2012 season, Crosby has been a reliable asset for Green Bay and has made 10 of his past 14 attempts. The Packers have not had a single punt or kick return for a touchdown this season, while the Vikings have two kick return touchdowns (both by Cordarrelle Patterson) and a punt return touchdown (Marcus Sherels).
Defense:Minnesota's defense is now at full strength after missing linebacker Anthony Barr, nose tackle Linval Joseph and safety Harrison Smith for two games in December (three for Joseph). The Vikings intercepted Giants quarterback Eli Manning three times Sunday night, one of them being a pick six for Smith. Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix leads the team in tackles with 96 (79 solo) and has two interceptions. As a team, Green Bay has 15 interceptions this season, tied for No. 7 in the NFL.
Over the Years
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.
**Minnesota trails Green Bay in the overall series, 48-58-2.
The Packers have won 10 of their past 12 matchups with Minnesota. The Vikings last defeated Green Bay on Dec. 30, 2012. That game was also the last of the regular season and the most recent time the Vikings made the playoffs.
Over the past five years, Minnesota has scored at least 20 points against Green Bay on six different occasions.
Last Meeting:Packers 30, Vikings 13; Nov. 22, 2015 in Minneapolis
In their 110th meeting with Green Bay, the Vikings suffered their first home loss of the 2015 season. Kyle Rudolph recorded six catches for 106 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown, and Adrian Peterson added a rushing touchdown. Peterson was limited to 45 yards on 13 carries. Crosby made five field goals for the Packers, each of them from beyond 40 yards.