Friday, July 21, 2017

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Thanks to an announcement earlier this week, Minnesota Vikings fans were able to prepare themselves to watch a defense minus Xavier Rhodes (again) and Shariff Floyd against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.

Both players are dealing with a knee injury and neither practiced all week. Rhodes sat out the Vikings’ game last week against the Tennessee Titans while Floyd only managed to play 25 of the defense’s 67 snaps in Tennessee.

Below are the additional players that Minnesota will be without tonight.

In addition to Rhodes and Floyd, the Vikings will be without the services of tight end MyCole Pruitt for the second straight week. Pruitt is still recovering from a minor knee injury he suffered back in the preseason against the San Diego Chargers.

Wide receiver Jarius Wright is a healthy scratch for Minnesota for the second straight week. Still unsure why his status on the team is basically non existent these days.

On the other side of the ball the Packers will be without the following players tonight.

– Joe Callahan, QB

– Josh Hawkins, CB

– Chris Banjo, S

– Sam Shields, CB

– Kyle Murphy, T

– Jayrone Elliot, LB

The absence of their top cornerback in Sam Shields could lead to a big night for Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Sure would be nice if new Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford could light up the Green Bay secondary in front of the home crowd during the team’s opening game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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Green Bay Backers
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As is the case every week, but is particularly true this week, the enemy is the Green Bay Packers. The outcome of Sunday night’s matchup will give one of the two teams an early boost in their bid for the NFC North which makes it a very important one on the schedule.

A lot is going on, no doubt, with the quarterback situation and the new stadium… but make no mistake about the goal being the same as it has ever been: Beat Green Bay.

We invited back our old sparring partner, Packer Ranter, for a quick Q&A session with this idea that we’d have a little fun while also learning something about the 2016 version of the Green Bay Packers. I agreed to answer some of their questions, as well, so be sure to keep an eye out for my answers over at Packer Ranter.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If someone had any player on the Minnesota Vikings offense starting on their fantasy team during last week’s games, they likely were not too happy with the results. However, the Vikings’ defense and Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh (at least in the second half) definitely made their fantasy owners happy with their performances against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.

Despite the Titans 3-13 record a year ago, their defense is still one of the toughest in the league. So, the fact that the Vikings offense struggled against them (especially running the ball) was not too much of a surprise.

This week, Minnesota gets to face off against a slightly easier defense of the Green Bay Packers and it could lead to some better fantasy performances from some of the Vikings’ most talented players on offense.

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Meet the run defense

Packers will stack the Box Against Adrian Peterson
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

For as long as Aaron Rodgers has been in Green Bay, he’s been an issue for the Minnesota Vikings. In 16 games, he’s thrown 34 touchdowns to five interceptions, winning 11 of the matchups while compiling a 113.2 passer rating. Calling Rodgers unstoppable, especially when facing the Vikings, wouldn’t be an exaggeration.

Recent history, however, suggests the Vikings are learning how to slow Rodgers down. Most of that has to do with head coach Mike Zimmer, who is 3-3 against Rodgers in his coaching career, holding the Packers quarterback to comparably pedestrian numbers. In his last two meetings with the Vikings, Rodgers threw three touchdowns and one interception, completing 55.3 percent of his throws and finishing the stretch with a sub-84 quarterback rating. That, combined with the limitless talent up and down Zimmer’s defense, means Rodgers is in for a fight every time he straps up to play the Vikings.

Minnesota knows how to prepare for Rodgers, but he’s far from the only concern in Green Bay. Looming ahead of Sunday’s Week 2 clash is the Packers’ stout run defense, which held Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon to 48 yards on 26 carries last week, good for 1.8 yards per carry. If the Vikings plan to beat Green Bay, they’ll need more than a solid effort from the defense; they’ll need Adrian Peterson to regain his 2015 form against an underrated defensive front.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Only two weeks into the 2016 regular season and the Minnesota Vikings are already hosting their most hated rival in the Green Bay Packers. But this game will be like no other Vikings/Packers game in the past as it will be the first to be played in Minnesota’s brand new home at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Despite not scoring a single touchdown on offense, the Vikings were able to come out of Tennessee last Sunday with their first win of the season. That absolutely cannot happen again if Minnesota has any ideas about starting the year 2-0.

The big question leading up to Sunday night’s game is who will be starting under center for the Vikings. It will be either Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill and only Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer knows the answer to that question right now.

Or does he?

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