The Minnesota Vikings are three-point underdogs heading into Sunday’s Week 6 matchup with the Green Bay Packers, according to MyBookie. Minnesota is +130 underdogs to win the game outright, while Green Bay is -150 favorites.
Minnesota is coming off an ugly win on Monday night against the Chicago Bears. It cost the Vikings significantly, however, as both quarterback Sam Bradford and wide receiver Stefon Diggs aggravated injuries that will keep them out of Sunday’s game.
Green Bay stole a last-second win from the Dallas Cowboys thanks to the late-game heroics of Aaron Rodgers. With the win, the Packers boast a 4-1 record and share the NFC North lead with Detroit. Minnesota, at 3-2, trails by one game.
The Vikings will roll with Case Keenum at quarterback, who has produced mixed results in his three and a half games since taking over for Bradford. Keenum’s season has been a roller coaster that includes a clunker (at Pittsburgh), a phenomenal performance (vs. Tampa Bay), a so-so game (vs. Detroit) and a solid half of football against the Bears last week.
Keenum has kept the Vikings offense steady, thus not affecting the over/under number set by MyBookie. As of now, that number is 45 after the announcement today of the status of both Bradford and Diggs.
Time: Noon CDT
Commentators: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews
Green Bay leads the all-time series with a 60-51-2 record in 113 matchups. The Vikings have only won three times since 2010 — Week 17 of 2012 (in Minneapolis), Week 17 of 2015 (in Green Bay) and Week 2 of 2016 (in Minneapolis). Minnesota has not swept the Packers in a season since the Favre season of 2009 and has been swept three times in that same span (2010, 2011, 2014).
The last Vikings-Packers matchup in Minneapolis — the first ever regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium — went Minnesota’s way by a 17-14 score, thanks to a late interception by none other than Big Play Trae Waynes.
Minnesota will be without three starters on Sunday (in addition to the loss of rookie running back Dalvin Cook). Bradford’s knee bone bruise does not look like it will heal anytime soon while Diggs’ reoccurring groin issues have resurfaced once again like freaking clockwork. Additionally, starting left guard Nick Easton is out with a calf injury.
Andrew Sendejo missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to make it back for Friday and is listed as questionable, though is expected to play.
OUT: QB Sam Bradford, WR Stefon Diggs, G Nick Easton
QUESTIONABLE: S Andrew Sendejo
Green Bay will be without several key contributors on an already weak defensive unit. Rookie cornerback Kevin King and veteran linebacker Ahmad Brooks will likely sit out, while veteran safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Joe Thomas have already been declared out.
Four other Packers’ statuses are in doubt for Sunday. The starting bookends on the offensive line, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, are listed as questionable with hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively. Both were limited in practice on Friday.
Starting running back Ty Montgomery and starting cornerback Davon House are both listed as questionable as well. Montgomery has been a full practice participant all week while House has been limited.
OUT: S Morgan Burnett, LB Joe Thomas
DOUBTFUL: CB Kevin King, LB Ahmad Brooks
QUESTIONABLE: T David Bakhtiari, T Bryan Bulaga, RB Ty Montgomery, CB Davon House
Minnesota’s offense is once again dealing with all kinds of injuries — it’s almost an annual thing now. The loss of QB1, RB1 and WR1 in a matter of two weeks would be enough to derail most offenses. However, Keenum has been a solid game-managing quarterback and the lightning and thunder combination of Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray showed promise as a replacement for Cook’s production. Combine that with solid offensive line play all season, and Minnesota’s offense should have enough firepower to put up over 20 points against a reeling Green Bay defense.
How many explosive plays Aaron Rodgers generates will dictate the result of this game. He’s one of the few players in the league that quite literally can’t be stopped by a defense — he can be contained, sure, but not stopped. Minnesota’s pass rush will need to find a balance between aggressiveness and discipline to keep Rodgers in the pocket where he’s less comfortable. Mike Zimmer will likely assign either Eric Kendricks or Anthony Barr to spy Rodgers often, which will likely put the Vikings in man coverage quite a bit.
Trae Waynes was picked on all game when these two teams met last year in Minneapolis, and the same will probably transpire on Sunday. Xavier Rhodes has been a true shutdown cornerback this season, even against the best receivers in the league. Look for the Packers to take advantage of Waynes, whether it be scheming Jordy Nelson against him or Davante Adams.
The status of Bakhtiari and Bulaga will have a huge impact on this game. If neither can go, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter will have the opportunity to tee off on Rodgers.
The current MyBookie over/under is 45. If the game stays under that, I like the Vikings. The fewer points the better, and vice-versa.
Minnesota’s defense has contained Rodgers effectively before, but banking on it isn’t the smartest of ideas. Give me the over.
Packers 27, Vikings 23