Analysis

Vikings Week 17 Preview: Offensive Matchup

The time has come for the Vikings much anticipated season finale against the rival Green Bay Packers. Before the season, many predicted that the winner of the NFC North would come out of this game and that is exactly what will happen.

The winner of Sunday night’s game will win the division and be rewarded with a home playoff game in the following week. It is even possible that these two teams could meet again next week in the first round of the postseason.

Minnesota’s offense has been on a bit of hot streak in the past couple of weeks. Will they be able to keep it up against a Packers defense that only allowed them to score 13 points in Week 11?

Offensive Line

It is a little sad when a good performance for the Vikings offensive line this season is thought of as a game where they only allow their quarterback to be sacked three times. That is how many this unit allowed last week against the New York Giants and also the amount they allowed three weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals.

Minnesota offensive coordinator Norv Turner is continuing to call more plays that not only benefit the quarterback, but the offensive line as well. Green Bay should be seeing a much different look from the Vikings offense this weekend than they saw from them during their first matchup of the season.

Of course, if Minnesota wants to have a chance at defeating the Packers this week the Vikings offensive line has to avoid a repeat performance from the first meeting against Green Bay. The line allowed a total of six sacks to the Packers defense in Week 11 and that kind of protection usually is not included in the formula to win a game.

Passing

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater cooled down a little bit in last Sunday’s win over the Giants. After passing for almost 600 yards and five touchdowns in his two previous games, Bridgewater threw for only 168 yards and one touchdown.

No need to think that he struggled against the Giants. Minnesota was just playing so well in many other aspects of the game that they did not really need too much from Bridgewater to defeat New York.

To defeat Green Bay this weekend however, the Vikings may need to rely more on Bridgewater to lead them to a victory. Considering the Packers held Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson to only 45 yards rushing in their first meeting this season, it should be expected that Green Bay will do their best to force the Vikings to rely more on their passing game come Sunday night.

Can Bridgewater have a game against the Packers like he did when Minnesota faced off against the Cardinals or the Chicago Bears? Both of Arizona and Chicago’s pass defenses rank higher than Green Bay’s this season, so another strong performance from Bridgewater is not out of the question.

Rushing

Can anyone explain what is going on with Peterson recently?

In the last four games he is only averaging 64 yards per game and rushed for only two touchdowns. Considering in the four games before that he averaged 133 yards per game and rushed for five touchdowns, something has been trending in the wrong direction for the Vikings lone 2015 Pro Bowler.

Is he hurt? Is it the shift Minnesota has made to run an offense that is no longer built around his abilities?

It seemed to improve a bit in the Giants game (22 carries, 104 yards and one touchdown) but New York’s horrible defense is not a good gauge to judge Peterson with. The Vikings are hoping his performance against the Giants is a kickstart for a better performance in his second meeting against the Packers defense on Sunday night.

Receiving

It seems like Bridgewater is discovering someone new to throw to as each week has gone by this season. First it was rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs, then tight end Kyle Rudolph, and now running back Jerick McKinnon has been seeing more passes thrown his way in the recent weeks.

After catching only eight passes in his first 11 games this year, McKinnon has 10 catches in his last four games. It seems as though Minnesota is finally realizing that they have plenty of players on their roster other than wide receivers that can still catch the ball.

Spreading the ball around more is only a positive for everyone involved in the Vikings offense. The more receiving weapons Minnesota has means that the focus for an opposing pass defense has to placed on the entire Vikings offense rather than just one specific player.

Green Bay’s defense has been pretty decent against the pass this season. However, they have allowed over 100 yards receiving to an opposing pass catcher in their last two games and Minnesota will be looking to extend that streak to three come Sunday night.

***

After the Packers were destroyed by the Cardinals last week, it will be interesting to see how they come out in this game. Meanwhile, the Vikings have been playing some of their best football in the past few weeks and will be looking continue doing just that this weekend.

This game should likely be much closer than the first time these two teams played this season. Minnesota, including head coach Mike Zimmer, seemed a little too excited for that first matchup and he will likely have the Vikings much more focused heading into this game.

Prediction: Packers 23, Vikings 19

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Adam Patrick

Adam has been rooting for the Vikings ever since he saw Randall Cunningham win NFC Special Teams Player of the week in 1997. Since his career sports highlights include 3rd place at 5th Grade Golf Camp and catching a ball during a soccer game (he was not playing goalie), Adam turned to writing. He considers himself a 'Vikings Realist' as he does not shy away from criticizing the purple and gold if necessary. He will not always write about the popular topics, but his goal is to provide readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. Follow him on Twitter @Str8_Cash_Homey

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22 Comments

  1. Adam Patrick, of the Vikings Territory Prediction: Packers 23, Vikings 19
    I just sent this off to Coach Zimmer. He’s promised to post it on the Bulletin board for all the players to see.
    Might be a good idea to stay clear of any attempts to contact or interview any members of the Minnesota Vikings for a while Adam, your name just went on their ‘No Fly’ list.

    Seriously, you’re picking the Packers over the Vikings in a game that will decide the NFC North??!!
    What a fan!

  2. Picking the Packers over the Vikings in Green Bay is a joke. We are talking about the same Green Bay that lost to Chicago and Detroit at HOME this year right? The same Green Bay that got throttled by Arizona 38-8 and Denver 29 to 10?

    1. Yes, and the same GB that kicked MN mightily and the same GB that beat Seattle. I do realize that MN had the better showing against AZ and Denver; but the Vikes will need to have sustained drives to keep the ball out of Roger’s hands as much as possible, minimize penalties, and have a + not – turnover ratio to expect to win this game.

  3. “Can anyone explain what is going on with Peterson recently?”

    Sure. He is 30 years old, not 22. Over the course of a long season, he will wear down. Regardless of what some people believe, the normal rules of human biology also apply to Peterson.

    The Vikings should have limited his snaps earlier in the season, and spent more time developing Bridgewater. The Vikings need Bridgewater to help carry the load in the playoffs, and Peterson would be fresher with a more limited snap count earlier in the year.

    You can see the same thing with Greenway this year. Under a more limited workload, he has experienced a mini career Renaissance. That would not have happened if he had the same workload as he did in previous years.

    1. Peterson is dancing… He takes off and instead of getting four yards he jukes and looks for a bigger hole. The result is little to no yards after contact since he’s going sideways and not forward. Seems to be always looking for a homerun. He did this earlier in the year too and I’m pretty sure Zim got him to run downhill more and take what they were giving him. The result was more yards, we were on the field more and every once in a while he’d break one.

  4. So based on everyone’s logic the Vikings should be undefeated this season then right?

    1. No, don’t think that’s what they’re saying. It’s that we’re playing the Packers for the division title…last game of the year and all. There will be plenty people picking GB, just seems odd a fan writing on a blog…unless of course you’re doing the old reverse jinx thing.

      1. I’m a fan of the Vikings yes, but that doesn’t mean I am going to pick them to win just because of that. It’s just what I think will happen based on how each team has played leading up to this point. Even though the Packers have been struggling of late, they are still a tier ahead of the Vikings in terms of league status.

        I still think the Vikings will play well in this game, but like in the first game they will make too many mistakes that prevent them from winning. It’s just something that usually happens to young, emerging teams and the Packers just have more experience in these types of situations.

        If you disagree with that, that is totally fine. But everyone thought the Vikings would have no trouble beating the Packers at home earlier this season and look how that turned out…

        1. Adam I think the wild card is they aren’t healthy. Packers are pretty banged up across the board. We are fairly healthy so I think that will be the difference. Of course if we make mistakes and turn the ball over, we probably won’t win. It’s Zims job to get them mentally ready to take care of business….

          Norv needs to keep his act together. If he calls a good game, we’ll win…

        2. Adam your point is well taken. The Packers are a mystery, as you don’t know which team will show up, especially their receivers and the drops. If the Vikes can avoid stopping themselves, the packers are very beatable. It appears that both clubs have the same problems…which teams will show up?

    2. No, that’s not at all what I said. I just pointed out, like CC did, it’s odd (And truthfully, pisses me off) that a writer for VT would pick the Packers to win a game so big. I think, pretty much everyone thinks the same here Adam.

      1. So you think Adam is not entitled to voice his honest opinion Fran?
        You have the right to disagree,I have the right to agree or disagree,and Adam has the right to give an honest viewpoint.
        Personally I don’t think this game will come down to the offence.it will be how the defense controls Rodgers.That’s the thing that killed us in the first game and also what killed us against Wilson.If we can’t control Rodgers then we’ll have a tough time of it.

        1. I never said he wasn’t entitled to his opinion. I simply said it pissed me off that as a writer for VT, he was predicting a Packer win. That’s my right, right?

  5. ” Before the season, many predicted that the winner of the NFC North would come out of this game ”
    No, most thought the Pack would run away with the division….steeeeerike one.

    “No need to think that he struggled against the Giants. Minnesota was just playing so well in many other aspects of the game that they did not really need too much from Bridgewater to defeat New York.”
    Did you see that game? How about some stats….93.5 qb rating. And a espn rating ahead of the likes of- Big Ben, Rivers, Fitz, Wilson, Carr, Bradford, Rodgers, struggled? ….. Whatever…..Strike two!

    “Can Bridgewater have a game against the Packers like he did when Minnesota faced off against the Cardinals or the Chicago Bears? Both of Arizona and Chicago’s pass defenses rank higher than Green Bay’s this season, so another strong performance from Bridgewater is not out of the question.”
    Foul tipped that one! Barely!

    “It seemed to improve a bit in the Giants game (22 carries, 104 yards and one touchdown) but New York’s horrible defense is not a good gage to judge Peterson with.”
    A bit? Adam….that’s almost 5 yards per carry. Really….you sound like Mike Kano. Hate AD much? The only reason I’m not ringing you up is cause there’s still more article to go….on top of- ‘GAGE”…it’s gauge. I’ll give you a mercy call….ball one.

    “Prediction: Packers 23, Vikings 19″….. Steeeeeeerike 3!!!! Have a seat!

    Yeah it’s early….or late. Woke up and re-read, give me a break. My post’s are timed…yours isn’t for some reason. Get past it!
    Don’t mess with Fran.

    1. After reading your post CC, pretty sure Adam may have made a mistake when he initially wrote this piece and accidentally switched the win/loss score. Pretty sure at this point, he meant to say VIKINGS 23, Packers 19. He’s still wrong of course, as the score will likely be something like VIKINGS 38, Packers 13. (My prediction.)

  6. I certainly appreciate everyone’s passion for this team. Remember it is just a prediction and I’ll still be rooting for the Vikings to win on Sunday.

  7. Love the feedback from everyone but I do just have one final question…

    What have the Vikings done to prove that they can beat the Packers?

    1. Vikings defense against both the run and pass is much better for sure. QB is no question, advantage Packers. Adrian and Jerrick vs Starks and Lacey? I go with the Vikings. O line? Tough call, but MN has played well at times, not so well at others. I still give the edge to MN as at least they have had the same five all year. LB’s, not even close, MN. I think Munnerlyn, Rhodes, and Newman; advantage Vikings. D line, again, I don’t think close especially without Raji. I think that there are plenty of reasons for Vikings fans to be positive heading into this game. Not trying to be a homer, I think I am being factual.. Intangibles.. advantage Packers, Lambeau and a good fan base. I hope that the game is not so lopsided in terms of officiating. First half of last game seemed to be decidedly one sided. I still think that if MN can win the turnover ratio and penalty yardage ratio that they have a good chance of winning. Just my opinion Adam. I do understand your analysis too.

    2. The Vikings seem to be the better team right now. They’re full of confidence, playing very well on both sides of the ball.
      Green Bay is way more banged up then we are. Rogers has had more shakey games this year than his whole career. I look forward to another shakey one on Sunday.
      If our O-line can turn in a decent game and our D plays up to their ability and stays healthy , we win this game easily.

      As a fan, I’d be hard pressed to pick against the Vikes in this game, I’m more confident than I been the last 3 seasons of games played against the Pack, to say we win this one.

  8. Yogi Berra, God rest his soul, once said its deja vu all over again. Well, just like last time we’re playing well and the pack is not, and again our D, QB and RB have been grabbing all the headlines. And what happened? Their D stifled us, their QB made the plays and Eddie Lacy had the big night. We have to stop Lacy, beat up Rodgers and win the war in the trenches to both protect Teddy and set AP free. SKOL!!!

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