The Vikings’ pass rush could be primed for a big day against the Packers’ aching offensive line, but with no Sam Bradford and no Stefon Diggs, the Vikings might have trouble putting up enough points to stay with Aaron Rodgers.
Prediction: Packers 21, Vikings 16.
Three big story lines
Keenum up again
Case Keenum will make his fourth start after leading the Vikings to a win over the Bears in relief of Bradford. Keenum was 17-for-21 for 140 yards and a TD against Chicago; he’ll face an ailing Packers secondary this week.
Rodgers at his best
Mike Zimmer has had reasonable success slowing Rodgers, but the QB burned the Vikings for 347 yards and four TDs last December, and has led two comeback wins this year. Zimmer facetiously suggested the Packers should trade Rodgers this week; Vikings fans likely wouldn’t mind that happening.
Big role for Floyd at home
A groin injury will keep Diggs out, meaning there could be more work for St. Paul native Michael Floyd. He could join Adam Thielen in a passing attack featuring two Minnesotans for Sunday’s border battle.
Two key matchups
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Packers WR Jordy Nelson
Will Rhodes shadow Nelson, as the Vikings had planned last December? Even if he doesn’t, he’ll likely see plenty of Rodgers’ favorite target, who burned the Vikings for 154 yards and two touchdowns in their last meeting.
Vikings C Pat Elflein vs. Packers DT Mike Daniels
Daniels returned from a hip injury in Dallas, and if he’s back to a full workload, he’ll represent a tough test for the middle of the Vikings line, which will be without left guard Nick Easton. Elflein had a long night Monday against the Bears’ Akiem Hicks.
One stat that matters
24.1 The percentage of his dropbacks on which Rodgers has been sacked this season. According to Pro Football Focus, that’s the fifth-highest rate in the league.
The Vikings will win if…
They can put together long drives, and use their front four to rattle Rodgers when he’s on the field, taking advantage of the Packers’ injuries without having to commit extra defenders to rush Rodgers.
The Packers will win if…
Rodgers’ improvisational ability is as masterful as it was last week, and he can find second and third receivers for big gains even if Rhodes takes away his top target.
Goessling’s win probability