3 Ways the Vikings Can Beat the Packers

Green Bay Packers fans Gannon Blankenship, left, 15, his brother Gage Blankenship, 13, and their father Doyle Blankenship watch players warm up before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, October 20, 2019, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The three are from Oklahoma. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers haven’t squared off in a season where both teams wound up with a losing record at the end of the year since 1990. So, either one team will turn it around, or Sunday’s game is a first-in-33-years event.

3 Ways the Vikings Can Beat the Packers

The Vikings are favored by a point and a half to prevail, which would be the purple team’s first win at Lambeau Field since 2020. Minnesota has produced back-to-back dreadful outings in Wisconsin in 2021 and 2022.

the Vikings Can Beat
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Minnesota hasn’t played against a Packers team without Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers somewhere attached to the roster since the George Bush Sr. administration, and if it wants to get this era off to a good start, here’s how to beat Green Bay on Sunday.

1. Rattle Jordan Love

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Although Jordan Love has encountered some woes in 2023, his first year as a starter, he’s played quite well against the blitz.

This doesn’t mean the Vikings will change their aggressive ways at Lambeau Field, but it does mean the blitz has to actually get home some of the time. For example, defensive coordinator Brian Flores blitzed out the wazoo versus Justin Herbert and was torched accordingly in Week 3. That can’t happen again.

Of course, comparing Herbert to Love at the moment is like examining Keenan Allen and Romeo Doubs, but you get the point.

The Vikings must be prepared for a version of Love that is somehow decent against pressure. And when they send the house, it must rattle Love.

2. Targets Galore to T.J. Hockenson

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Justin Jefferson is out for two more games, and there’s a decent chance that Packers corner Jaire Alexander clamps down on Jordan Addison — as he did on Jefferson 10 months ago.

Then, Hockenson must be available and ready in the middle of the field, taking the pressure off Kirk Cousins, who’d be searching for targets not named Jefferson and Addison.

Hockenson was targeted to the utmost against the 49ers, and the plan worked. He ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards among tight ends, worth every penny the Vikings invested in his big new contract. This cannot be one of his quiet games, and Hockenson will be needed like a WR1 until Jefferson returns.

That’s just the way it goes.

3. A Clean Day for Greg Joseph

Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) kicks a field goal at the beginning of the second quarter against the Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings have won nine straight games when Joseph misses an extra point, a mind-boggling stat that simply shouldn’t make sense, but it’s true.

Joseph has been fairly dependable in 2023, although he wasn’t used much in the first handful of games. At Green Bay — where the Vikings sometimes confront kicking demons — Joseph can’t afford a bevy of misses like he fired up on Monday Night Football.

The Vikings won’t always get away with it.

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 OverTheCap.com.