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?
DO – Get the ball in Stefon Diggs’ hands
His sophomore season in the NFL got off to a great start last week against the Titans as Diggs caught seven passes for 103 yards. Not to mention how many ankles on Tennessee’s defense he broke after he made the initial catch.
If the Packers defense make their main objective to stop Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, then Minnesota is going to need another solid night from their young receiver. Green Bay will likely be without cornerback Sam Shields due to a concussion, so the Packers’ secondary may be a little easier for Diggs to sift through on Sunday.
DON’T – Make dumb, boneheaded mistakes (Everson…)
Hopefully, Vikings defense end Everson Griffen bought Minnesota safety Harrison Smith some dinner this week since he took away an interception from Smith last week after he thought it would be a good idea to get an uncharacteristically, obvious roughing the quarterback penalty.
If the Vikings want to make their home fans happy with a win this weekend, stupid penalties like Griffen’s against the Titans cannot happen. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is too good to not take advantage of multiple opportunities given to him after a few dumb mistakes by the Minnesota defense.
DO – Get LOUD!
It is the first home game for the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium and the first opportunity for Minnesota fans to actually have an effect on the game since 2013. Reports of the acoustics in the stadium for concerts have included that the sound echoes around the building.
That may make for a bad concert experience, but that sounds like great news for the Vikings!
Minnesota needs to let the Packers know that their new home is going to be a much harder place to win in than any other place they have played before. The Vikings defense will have an incredible advantage on Sunday night if they are able to cause Rodgers to order a hearing aid at the conclusion of the game.
DON’T – Forget about Jerick McKinnon
Given that Peterson was only able to gain 31 yards on 19 carries last week, Minnesota still did not try and get another one of their running backs going. McKinnon had only one carry and one catch in Tennessee and it seemed like a waste.
Now he was a little banged up heading into last Sunday’s game, but why even have McKinnon on the field at all if there was no plan to include him in the offense? If Peterson struggles again for the second straight week, there is no reason to not get McKinnon in the game and try and find another way to increase the offense’s production.