In one sense — and not in a way that either of the teams would welcome — the 117th meeting between the Vikings and the Green Bay Packers, at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night, will pit an irresistible force against an immovable object.
The Vikings will face a Packers team that is 0-5 away from Lambeau Field this season, having slipped to third in the NFC North during a four-game stretch that’s included road losses to the Rams, Patriots and Seahawks. The Vikings, on the other hand, are playing their fourth prime-time game of the season, and second in a row on Sunday night, after having lost three nationally televised matchups so far this season.
Minnesota, which is coming off a 25-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, has one more prime-time game left on the schedule — a Monday night matchup against Seattle on Dec. 10. On Wednesday, the Vikings collectively said there’s no underlying issue with their struggles in prime-time games, other than they’re generally playing good teams in those games.
“We got flexed to that prime-time [game] last week because we were playing a really good football team,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “If either of us weren’t good, I don’t think we would have been flexed. If there’s a difference with prime time, that would be it. I certainly don’t treat them any differently.”
Cousins is just 4-12 in his career in prime-time games, including an 0-3 record in night games this season with the Vikings.
“We’d have to go back through all the prime-time games I’ve played and talk through them, because every game is different,” Cousins said. “We won last year — and when I say ‘we,’ the previous team I was on — we won last year on Thanksgiving night. I don’t think I played all that well, and we won. It gets a little bit convoluted, when you start to look at a stat and pair it with a player. It becomes a bigger, more complicated picture than a win-loss record.”
Zimmer says Rams-Chiefs game ‘not my cup of tea’
With the NFL still buzzing about the Los Angeles Rams’ 54-51 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, coach Mike Zimmer — who’s built his career on the basis of strong defenses — made it clear that game’s style of play wasn’t one he would want for his own team.
“It’s not my cup of tea. Might run me out of football,” he said. “I think you have to have a well-rounded team, but I don’t think that you can give up 51 points or 54 points a lot of times and win games, in my opinion.”
Sendejo remains out
Safety Andrew Sendejo, who has not played since Oct. 7 because of a groin injury, was not participating in the Vikings’ first practice of the week on Wednesday. Linebacker Ben Gedeon (concussion) and tight end David Morgan (knee) were out Wednesday, while defensive end Stephen Weatherly, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, also missed practice for what the team said were noninjury-related reasons.
Linebacker Anthony Barr, who said Monday he would play against the Packers, was a full participant Wednesday after missing the Vikings’ past three games because of a hamstring injury. Guard Tom Compton also was participating in Wednesday’s practice after leaving Sunday’s game against the Bears because of a sprained knee he’s been battling for several weeks.
Smith leads Pro Bowl voting at free safety
Vikings safety Harrison Smith is the league’s top vote-getter at free safety for the Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Wednesday.
Smith, who has received 57,938 votes, is the only Viking in the top spot at his position through the league’s first balloting update.
Fan voting for the Pro Bowl continues through Dec. 13. Teams will be announced Dec. 18 for the Jan. 27 game in Orlando.
Defensive end Danielle Hunter leads all NFC defensive ends in the voting, and is third overall in the league. Xavier Rhodes is third among NFC cornerbacks, and sixth overall.