Game Preview: Vikings at Packers

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

EAGAN, Minn. — It’s that time again.

The Vikings will venture east (and a little south) for the 118th Border Battle, which is scheduled for noon (CT) Sunday.

Minnesota has gone 5-1-1 in its past seven games against Green Bay, a run of success that began when the Vikings clinched the NFC North at Lambeau Field in the 2015 regular-season finale.

The Vikings and Packers tied 29-all at the venue in 2018, storming back from a 20-7 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter with 22 points, but neither team was able to decide the game in overtime.

Much has changed for both teams since then, as the Vikings overhauled the interior of their offensive line and special teams and the Packers hired first-year Head Coach Matt LaFleur and loaded up on defense during free agency.

The Vikings opened the 2019 season with a 28-12 win over the Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium, improving to 4-0 in home openers since the building’s inaugural game in 2016, a win by Minnesota over Green Bay.

Minnesota seized momentum quickly against Atlanta with a sack of Matt Ryan by Anthony Barr on the first snap of the season, an ensuing punt block by Eric Wilson and touchdown from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen on the Vikings second offensive play.

The Packers opened the NFL’s 100th season by visiting and defeating Chicago 10-3 at Soldier Field on Sept. 5. LaFleur was the only one out of seven new head coaches across the league to record a win in Week 1.

TV BROADCAST

TV: FOX 9 KMSP in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Play-by-Play: Chris Myers

Analyst: Daryl “Moose” Johnston

Sideline Reporter: Laura Okmin

LOCAL RADIO

RADIO: KFAN 100.3-FM/KTLK 1130-AM in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman & Ben Leber

Radio Pre-game Show: Mike Mussman | 10 a.m. (CT)

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the five-state Vikings Radio Network.

NATIONAL RADIO

ESPN Radio Affiliates

Play-by-Play: Mark Kestecher

Analyst: Jack Del Rio

SATELLITE RADIO

SiriusXM: MIN SIRI 99 or Streaming 819; GB SIRI 83 or Streaming 811

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Vikings totaled four sacks against the Falcons in Week 1, making it the 26th time under Head Coach Mike Zimmer that the team has recorded at least four sacks in a game (since 2014). Minnesota is 21-4-1 under Zimmer when it records four or more sacks in a game.

View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Falcons competed against each other in the home opener at U.S. Bank Stadium.

NORSEMAN NOTES

The Vikings are seeking their 500th victory (including regular season and playoffs). Minnesota is a combined 499-426-11.

Since the start of the 2017 season, the Vikings are 19-0 when they have 25 or more rush attempts in a game.

Adam Thielen holds the record for most catches in a game against Green Bay, recording 12 twice in separate games at Lambeau Field (Dec. 24, 2016 and Sept. 16, 2018).

Kirk Cousins passed for 425 yards at Green Bay last season in one of five career games with at least 400 passing yards.

Dalvin Cook has had 100 or more yards from scrimmage in three of the four games that Kevin Stefanski has been offensive coordinator (twice in 2018 after Stefanski was named interim offensive coordinator).

The Vikings last week became the first team since the 1978 Packers to attempt 10 or fewer passes in a Week 1 game. Cousins was 8-of-10 passing. Green Bay completed three of nine passes against Detroit on Sept. 3, 1978.

VIKINGS-PACKERS CONNECTIONS

Packers inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti’s father, Tom, was a defensive assistant with the Vikings from 1996-99.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Vikings CB Trae Waynes is from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Packers T/G Billy Turner is from Shoreview, Minnesota.

COACHING CONNECTIONS

Minnesota Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak was head coach of the Houston Texans when Green Bay Head Coach Matt LaFleur was an offensive assistant (2008-09).

PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins worked with Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur as his quarterbacks coach for two seasons in Washington (2012-13).

Vikings WR Josh Doctson teamed with Packers LB Preston Smith with the Redskins from 2016-18.

Vikings backup QB Sean Mannion was with the Rams when LaFleur was the offensive coordinator in 2017.

Vikings T Rashod Hill teamed with Packers TE Marcedes Lewis in Jacksonville in 2016.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

Vikings WR Bisi Johnson played for Packers WR coach Alvis Whitted at Colorado State (2015-18).

Vikings DT Shamar Stephen and Green Bay backup QB Tim Boyle at Connecticut (2013)

Vikings TE Irv Smith, Jr., Packers CB Tony Brown and P JK Scott at Alabama (2016-17)

Vikings T Riley Reiff and Packers T Bryan Bulaga at Iowa (2008-10); Vikings DT Jaleel Johnson and Packers CB Josh Jackson

Vikings DE Stephen Weatherly and Packers ILB Oren Burks at Vanderbilt (2013-15)

Vikings LB Anthony Barr (2010-13) and LB Eric Kendricks (2010-14), and Packers DL Kenny Clark (2013-15) are former UCLA Bruins. Vikings running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu was UCLA’s offensive coordinator and running backs coach from 2014-16.

Vikings assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken was at UCLA when Packers TE Marcedes Lewis was a Bruin (2003-05).

Vikings LB Ben Gedeon and Packers LB Rashan Gary overlapped at Michigan in 2016.

Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander (2013-15), CB Mark Fields (2015-18) and S Jayron Kearse (2013-15) are former Clemson Tigers, along with Packers LB B.J. Goodson (2011-15).

Vikings assistant defensive line coach Rob Rodriguez coached linebackers and special teams at UTEP when Packers RB Aaron Jones was with the Miners (2013-14).

Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (2012-16) and Eric Wilson (2012) spent time at Northwestern with Packers DL Dean Lowry (2012-15) and FB Danny Vitale (2012-15). Packers DL Tyler Lancaster also went to Northwestern from 2013-17. Vikings offensive quality control coach Christian Jones played receiver at Northwestern from 2011-15.

Vikings G Pat Elflein and Packers C Corey Linsely teamed for two seasons at Ohio State.

Vikings DT Hercules Mata’afa and Packers G Cole Madison at Washington State (2014-17)

VIKINGS TOP PERFORMERS VS. PACKERS

Offense

Kirk Cousins: 4 games (one postseason with Washington), 114-of-162 passing, 70.4 completion percentage, 1,471 passing yards, 11 TDs, 1 INT, 118.6 passer rating; 14 rushes for 28 yards and a TD

Stefon Diggs: 7 games, 42 receptions, 550 yards, 6 TDs; 3 rushes for 16 yards

Adam Thielen: 10 games, 52 receptions, 692 yards, 4 TDs; 3 rushes for 71 yards

Kyle Rudolph: 15 games (one postseason), 56 receptions, 629 yards, 3 TDs

Dalvin Cook: 2 games, 20 rushes for 67 yards; 6 receptions for 99 yards and a TD

Defense

Everson Griffen: 19 games (one postseason), 44 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 15 TFL, 2 FF

Harrison Smith: 13 games (one postseason), 84 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 7 TFL, 5 INT, 8 PBU

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. PACKERS

Adam Thielen has posted multiple big performances against Green Bay and twice has set the team record for most receptions against the Packers with 12 (Dec. 24, 2016; Sept. 16, 2018).

Stefon Diggs racked up a career-high 182 receiving yards and snagged a career-long 75-yard catch against the Packers on Sept. 19, 2016, the first-ever game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Kirk Cousins had two impressive outings against the Packers in 2018, his first season as a Viking. He threw four touchdown passes and totaled 425 passing yards, the fourth-highest in his career, at Green Bay in Week 2. Against the Packers in Week 11, Cousins was 29-of-38 passing for 342 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Everson Griffen recorded a career-high 3.0 sacks against the Packers in the 2012 regular-season finale. In the NFC North-clinching victory in Week 17 of the 2015 season, he totaled 2.0 sacks and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

Harrison Smith posted a pair of marquee games against the Packers in 2017. On Oct. 15, he recorded five tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, two passes defensed, two quarterback hits and an interception. In the second meeting with Green Bay that season, Smith nabbed two interceptions to help the Vikings shut out the Packers at Lambeau Field.

VIKINGS-PACKERS SERIES NOTES

1. Since 2008, the Vikings (four) and the Packers (five) have combined for nine of the 11 NFC North titles.

2. The Vikings are 11-6-1 all-time in September games against the Packers.

3. Under Zimmer, the Vikings are 2-2-1 at Green Bay. In the five games prior to Zimmer’s hire, Minnesota went 0-4-1, including a playoff appearance, at Lambeau Field.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: 7 games (Nov. 2, 1975 through Oct. 22, 1978)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: 6 games (Oct. 22, 1961 through Nov. 10, 1963)

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