As the Packers sat a perfect 6-0 in late October, not many expected the NFC North favorites to be fighting for a share of the division lead just one month later in their Week 11 meeting with the Vikings. If the Packers lacked a sense of urgency to correct the many flaws on both sides of the ball, now appears to be the time for that sense to kick in.
Sharp against both the run and pass on defense, Minnesota is the last team that a struggling Packers offense is interested in facing on the road. Ranked eighth against the pass, the Vikings secondary has the ability to shut down electric passing attacks, including those of the Chargers, Broncos and Lions. It will be more important than ever for receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams to find a way to get open, so that the offense can establish some form of rhythm and continuity.
While blue-collared backups James Starks, Jared Abbrederis and Justin Perillo have proven to be the more reliable targets in recent weeks, the Packers will be challenged to sustain long drives against the Vikings with such mid-tier talent. Green Bay will instead need to rely on top play makers like Cobb, Adams and running back Eddie Lacy to routinely score points on one of the NFC’s premier defenses.
As usual, expect the Packers to have their hands full with running back Adrian Peterson on Sunday. Coming off of a 200-yard performance last week against the Raiders, Peterson is red hot and figures to be the focus of Minnesota’s offense in a cold-weather home game against a vulnerable Packers run defense.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been solid yet inconsistent in his second season as starter, responsible for eight turnovers in nine regular season games. With Bridgewater more than capable of committing mistakes, expect Dom Capers to emphasize the importance of turnovers to his defense this week in an effort to get the Packers offense the ball with favorable field position.
A fourth-straight loss this week would seemingly put the Packers’ season on ice, with two divisional opponents next up on the schedule. While the team has shown little promise of correcting issues that have been around since early October, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers have found a way to get it done in the past and should on Sunday.
Prediction: Packers 24 Vikings 20