Here Comes the Vikings’ Most Hated Foe

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

If you followed the 2022 Green Bay Packers at all, well, the 2023 version of the same team is plotting an eerily similar path.

Here Comes the Vikings’ Most Hated Foe

The 2022 cheese team owned a 3-6 record in early November and damn near wound up making the postseason. The 2023 squad held a 3-6 record on November 12th and is now 6-6 with five games to go.

You can’t make it up.

Comes the Vikings
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the 2022 Packers collapsed in Week 18 at home versus the then-upstart Detroit Lions, ruining Aaron Rodgers’ swan song in Wisconsin. The loss was his final in Green Bay, and Rodgers vamoosed to the New York Jets about three months later.

Now, Jordan Love rules the roost and has become suddenly proficient running Green Bay’s offense in the last month, enough to garner repeated comparisons to — you guessed it — Rodgers. National NFL media gushed over Love on Sunday Night Football, as his Packers knocked off the world champion Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field, 27-19.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Barring a totally embarrassing collapse, the Packers are in the driver’s seat to reach the playoffs, and if the Minnesota Vikings aren’t careful or cognizant, Green Bay could even steal the purple team’s spot. Winning over the Chiefs really changed everything about the Packers’ playoff hopes; it was the last daunting game on their 2023 itinerary. It’s smooth sailing from here if Green Bay wants to play meaningful January football, unlike the 2022 team.

As of December 4th, the Packers have a 66.6% playoff probability, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). They struggled and straggled in the 20%-30% range five weeks ago, but winning four of their last five matchups flipped the script.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) during their football game Sunday, October 29, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Minnesota defeated Green Bay 24-10. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Here’s the Packers’ remaining schedule, with a reminder that the team probably only needs to finish 3-2 to get in the dance:

  • at New York Giants
  • vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • at Carolina Panthers
  • at Minnesota Vikings
  • vs. Chicago Bears

And here’s how the Packers have fared by the numbers since the start of Week 9:

Packers EPA/Play Ranking,
Since Week 9:

Offense = 4th
Defense = 14th
Jordan Love = 3rd

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Like the Packers, the Vikings essentially “control their fate,” too, needing to finish the final five games with a 3-2 record to secure a probable spot in the postseason tournament. Yet, the Packers were a non-factor, for the most part, when Minnesota’s five-game winning streak was cooking.

That all changed in early November, and there’s a palpable reality that three NFC North teams enter the postseason afterparty.

In simpler terms: The Packers became good right after the Vikings beat them in Week 8.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by