Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Need to know who to watch this week in purple and gold? Look no further.
I can't talk about the Vikings without mentioning their All-Pro running back. I'm not a big fan of him personally, but what he has done this season coming off an ACL tear last December is nothing short of remarkable. He's as close as you can get to a modern-day Jim Brown - he's usually the fastest and one of the strongest men on the field. The thing is, the Packers' defense at least has a chance to take him out of the game this week. If the defensive line can hold their blockers and let the linebackers flow to the football, Peterson's impact can be reduced. I still expect to see him break a few highlight-reel runs though.
Wright is a rookie wideout from Arkansas, and though he has only played in two games, he's made a bit of an impact for the Vikings' offense which sorely lacks playmakers without Percy Harvin. Wright averaged 5 catches and 57 receiving yards over Minnesota's past two games, better than any other wide receiver over that span. I expect him to continue that trend, and the Packers' defense will have to account for him.
Jefferson has started the past three games for Minnesota, taking over in the starting lineup after Chris Cook was injured. He'll likely draw the unenviable task of covering a combination of Jordy Nelson and James Jones while Antoine Winfield focuses on Greg Jennings and Randall Cobb in the slot. I think this is a matchup that strongly favors the Packers' receivers.
S Harrison Smith
Another rookie starter in the secondary is Smith, though he's started since day one of the season. He's proven that he can be a prolific tackler (7 or more tackles in six games this year) and a capable ball hawk in the back of the secondary (8 passes defended, one interception). I will be very curious to see if the Vikings use him as part of the over-2 look which has given the Packers some issues so far this season.
He's a bit of a celebrity on twitter and online media for his outspoken opinions on politics and social issues, but Kluwe is a pretty solid punter as well. If all goes well for the Packers on defense, he'll see the field a lot this week, and he'll need to be careful not to give Randall Cobb opportunities to take a punt back to the house, as he did against the Vikings in Lambeau last season.