Packers Week Hits Different

Vikings Will Learn a Lot Sunday before Packers Game Even Begins
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Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season is upon us, while the Minnesota Vikings’ playoff chances are on something less than life support. It’s Packers week, though, and when Green Bay comes to town, that will always hit differently.

Packers Week Hits Different

There is plenty of intrigue leading up to the Vikings matchup with Matt LaFleur and Green Bay this week. Much of that centers around the Minnesota quarterback position as Kevin O’Connell is again left scrambling to find any semblance of competent quarterback play. Had Minnesota shown even a shred of that over the past handful of weeks, they’d be squarely in the playoff picture by this point.

Packers Week Hits
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What’s on the table, though, is a season sweep of the cheeseheads. Minnesota knocked off the Packers at Lambeau back in October, but both teams were in entirely different spots. Kirk Cousins was in the midst of orchestrating what looked to be an MVP-like performance, and Green Bay fell to just 2-5 on the season. That was the game in which Cousins left with what wound up being an Achilles tear, and everything changed from that point forward.

Minnesota has started three separate quarterbacks since Cousins went down, and ripping off a 24-10 victory, even while at U.S. Bank Stadium, doesn’t seem very likely this weekend. Jordan Love has shown significant growth, but at times, looks to be the same flawed player Brian Flores orchestrated his defense against during Week 8.

If the Vikings are going to win this weekend, they will need an all-around performance more than they have at any point in recent weeks. The defense has seemed to tire a bit down the stretch, and while Flores continues to put pressure on the opposition, a significant amount of the heavy lifting has been left to that side of the ball.

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After a breakout rushing game two weeks ago, Ty Chandler and the run game were non-existent for O’Connell against the Detroit Lions. That will need to change as injuries have ravaged the pass-catching corps. T.J. Hockenson is done for the year, and Jordan Addison’s status remains up in the air. While Justin Jefferson is back and has proven he is quarterback-proof, asking him to do everything isn’t a fair gameplan.

Minnesota will unlikely find its way back into the playoff picture this season. They have simply given away too many of the chances that have been afforded to them. Still, though, a victory against Green Bay would put them back at 8-8 this season, and finishing above .500 would be a fine way to cap things off.

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There is significant uncertainty about how the 2024 Vikings will look, especially if Cousins isn’t brought back as the signal caller. This team isn’t going to have a terribly high draft pick, and it will be on the overall brain trust to pull the right strings and reset from this year. Taking care of Green Bay twice in the first season without Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre involved would represent a nice way of handling business. Even if the overall ramifications are lessened, Packers week always hits differently.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.