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Cheese Curds, 12/30: Can the Packers slow down Justin Jefferson?

Another question, though, is do they really need to?

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

In five career games against the Green Bay Packers, wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a mixed bag of results. In his rookie year, the Minnesota Vikings star put up just five catches over two games, posting 26 yards in each contest. The Vikings and Packers split those two games, however, with Minnesota pulling a strange upset at Lambeau Field around midseason.

Then in 2021, Jefferson had his first big game against the Packers, with 8 catches, 169 yards, and two touchdowns. The Vikings won that game 34-31, but the Packers had every opportunity to win it late. Then in week 17, Jefferson had just six grabs for 58 yards at Lambeau Field in a Packers rout, a game that saw Sean Mannion start in place of Kirk Cousins.

The 2022 season opener was Jefferson’s biggest game to that point, a nine-catch, 184-yard, two-score performance as the Vikings jumped out to a 1-0 start. So just how much are the Packers going to lean on the tape from that game to figure out how to stop (or at least slow down) the Vikings’ superstar?

The answer is apparently not much. But this season, Jefferson has also been inconsistent in the Vikings’ three losses. The Eagles and Cowboys each held him under 50 yards, but he posted a massive 11-grab, 223-yard day in a losing effort against the Detroit Lions.

So do the Packers really need to keep Jefferson to a quiet game to win? The answer apparently is “not necessarily,” though it would certainly help.

Calling It ‘Fluke,’ Packers Avoiding Week 1 Film vs. Vikings’ Justin Jefferson - Sports Illustrated
Is that really wise? Obviously the Packers played an exceptionally bad first half against Jefferson, letting him run free repeatedly, but one might think there's value in trying to learn from your mistakes.

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The Vikings did allow the Packers' backs to have some space in the run game in the second half of the teams' first meeting, but some of that may have been game script. Regardless, Jones and Dillon will need good games to help jump-start the offense this weekend.

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