Tuesday, January 16, 2018

clay matthews

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Week 16: Vikings 16, Packers 0

The Minnesota Vikings hadn’t shutout a team since December 5th, 1993 in a 13-0 win over the Detroit Lions. That’s the year Stefon Diggs was born. They hadn’t shutout the Packers since 1971. That all changed Saturday night.

The Packers, decimated by many key injuries to starters, were out matched by Minnesota, who welcomed back key players from injury before earning their tenth victory in 11 games. The Vikings shutout the home team 16-0.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In Week 16 the (11-3) Minnesota Vikings travel to Wisconsin to take on the (7-7) Packers in Green Bay. The 2017 NFC North champions have already clinched a playoff berth, but winning this week would assure the Vikings a first-round bye.

The Vikings are looking good from a health standpoint, especially for this late in the season.

Green Bay, meanwhile, is dealing with multiple notable injuries. They’ll be without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and leading receiver Davante Adams and could be without starting linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. Also, did I mention the Packers have officially been eliminated from playoff contention?

Even so, with things trending upward for the Vikings and the Packers being kicked while they’re down, it doesn’t mean Green Bay won’t try to play spoiler Saturday night. Let’s take a look at how the teams stack up by the numbers.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are looking like a pretty healthy squad considering it’s Week 16.

Cornerback Tramaine Brock is the only Viking listed as out for Saturday’s game. He did not practice this week due to a foot injury. Meanwhile, starting safety Andrew Sendejo has battled injuries throughout the season and is listed as questionable. His backup, Anthony Harris, has played well when called into action and could see some playing time Saturday if Sendejo is unable to play.

Nickel cornerback Mackensie Alexander missed last week’s game against the Bengals with a rib injury. However, Alexander practiced in full Thursday so he appears to be good to go.

Starting left tackle Riley Reiff is working his way back from an ankle injury he suffered two weeks ago in the Carolina Panthers game. Rashod Hill has been Reiff’s replacement. Will Reiff be able to return for his first Vikings/Packers game at Lambeau Field as a member of the purple? According to Pioneer Press writer Chris Tomasson the team is hopeful, but don’t expect the Vikings to push it if he’s not 100%.

The Packers, meanwhile, will be without their star quarterback and leading receiver. Aside from missing their two offensive studs in Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, they may also be without some key defenders. Starting linebacker Nick Perry is listed as doubtful and Clay Matthews is questionable. Starting cornerback Davon House is also listed as questionable, as is starting right guard Jahri Evans. Both would be significant losses for the Packers if they are unable to play.

Last week the Vikings offense took advantage of Cincinnati’s injuries on defense, particularly at linebacker. The group was able to open up holes all day in the passing game, especially for running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.

Here’s a look at the injury reports for each team.

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The Minnesota Vikings were “victorious” in their preseason debut, but the final score means much less than the evaluation of how things actually went, and I would tend to agree with Mike Zimmer in that this team has a ways to go before they are ready to compete in Week One. That can be said for every team right now, however, and it is time to take our weekly look at what is happening with our NFC North enemies.

PED Problems For The Packers

I love when the Vikings beat the Packers, but I like it best when both teams are playing as close to full strength as possible. With the drawn out StarCaps saga going down into history as one of the most tedious and boring bits of Vikings history I’ve ever written about, I can assure our Packer fan foes that this latest news will not be fun for them to follow.

Three prominent Packers players (Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Mike Neal) have been informed by the NFL that they will be suspended indefinitely if they do not participate in an investigation regarding performance enhancing drugs by August 25th. James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers is also subject to those terms.

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Sunday sucked but there’s not time to dwell in the NFL as the 7-3 Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings are still in prime position to make a playoff push and make some noise in the postseason. Ted Glover (@PurpleBuckeye) and Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) of The Daily Norseman stop by to briefly reminisce about the 30-13 Sunday curbstomping, look ahead towards the pivotal matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, and chat about how to go Feastmode at Thanksgiving.

All that and other “It’s the Damn Squirrel’s Fault” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.