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Cheese Curds, 12/20: Packers must contain Vikings’ receivers with Cook on the shelf

The Packers must find a way to keep Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in check.

Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

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.

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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.

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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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