The most versatile and dangerous player on the Minnesota Vikings’ offense is probably not playing on Monday night. With the Green Bay Packers setting their sights on a first-round bye, the opportunity to earn that is there for the taking this weekend.
But in order to win this rivalry game, clinch the NFC North, and all but lock in a playoff bye, the Packers need to shift their focus a bit to the other facet of the Vikings’ offense. Minnesota’s attack has been excellent this year in large part because of its ability to play the run and pass off one another. With Stefon Diggs having an excellent year as a deep threat and Adam Thielen gradually getting back closer to full strength, the Vikings’ top receiver tandem is as dangerous as any in the NFL.
But Dalvin Cook’s expected absence simplifies the equation a bit for the Packers. Yes, the Vikings will still try to run the football, and they may have some success doing so — even if they are down to a third-string back. But the key to winning this game for the Packers will be pressuring Kirk Cousins and limiting the effectiveness of Diggs and Thielen.
If they do that, the Packers should emerge with their first victory at U.S. Bank Stadium and still in position for that second spot in the NFC.
Aaron Rodgers, Mike Zimmer meet again – with a lot on the line | Packers.com
Rodgers has historically struggled at times against Zimmer's defenses, while Zimmer clearly would rather not have to game plan for #12.
Packers can pressure Vikings' Kirk Cousins without injured Dalvin Cook | Packersnews.com
With Cook (likely) out, it's time for Green Bay to dial up the pressure. They did an excellent job of not biting on play action in the teams' first meeting, though that allowed Cook to roll up over 150 yards on the ground. Expect a similar strategy this Monday.
Packers need Jaire Alexander, Kevin King to play like top tandem again - ESPN
This will be critical to determining a victor on Monday, as the Vikings' offensive success will likely correlate directly with the success of their passing game. The two held Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs largely in check in week two, however, and if they can do so again, expect the Packers to clinch the division title.
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Jace Sternberger has been showing some flashes of speed, even if he has not yet caught a ball, while Rashan Gary is giving signs of good development as a pass rusher.
How to improve Steelers' run game; Pack's use of Jimmy Graham - NFL.com
Brian Baldinger explains Graham's lack of production is due to a lack of snaps, which he is falling behind on because of his blocking abilities (or lack thereof).
156 guns seized after Anaheim man trips own burglary alarm, roommate invites police to investigate – Orange County Register
If you're going to possess a bunch of weapons that are illegal in the state in which you live, maybe make sure that you know how your alarm works -- or that you and your roommate are on the same page.