It’s Déjà vu all over again for the Minnesota Vikings, who for the second time this season, will look to defeat the Green Bay Packers in their most important game of the year. The last time these two teams met, the Vikings were riding a five-game win streak, while the Packers were trudging through a three-game slide. It seemed, at last, that the Vikings were primed to dethrone the Packers from the top of the NFC North! Right? Wrong.
Minnesota lost that Week 11 game, falling 30-13 at home to their biggest rival. Since that eye-opening defeat, they’ve fallen behind the Packers in the division. But, next Sunday night, they’ll have a chance to knock Green Bay out of the top spot and secure the NFC’s third playoff seed. Whether they win or lose on Sunday Night Football, the Vikings are guaranteed a playoff spot; their victory over the New York Giants secured a postseason berth for the first time since 2012. But knowing Zimmer’s win-first mentality and steadfast approach to his franchise, the Vikings want and need to claim the division to be satisfied.
How can they do that? It starts by “righting the wrongs” from the team’s first meeting. Most notably, pressuring Aaron Rodgers and winning the turnover battle — a strategy they failed to execute in November. Yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals did just that to Rodgers and the Packers offense, sacking the quarterback nine times and creating four turnovers. The Vikings experienced similar defensive success against the Giants last night, and it’s a formula that can assuredly bring Minnesota their first NFC North title since 2009:
“When you create turnovers and you put pressure on the quarterback, good things typically happen. I thought we put good pressure on the quarterback tonight. I thought we got him to make some bad throws and we took advantage of it. The three interceptions we had were all huge.” — Mike Zimmer