The Vikings are pursuing a first-round bye, in what could be a surreal trip to Lambeau Field against a team with nothing to play for. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams will sit out, and on a cold night, the smart play is to go with a deeper team that has more to gain. Prediction: Vikings 30, Packers 17.
Three big story lines
Strange trip to Lambeau
This is the first time since 2008 that the Vikings-Packers game comes after Green Bay was eliminated from the playoffs. Despite that, the Vikings say they expect to get the Packers’ best effort. In single-digit temperatures, we’ll see if that proves true.
Barr likely to hear it from fans
Vikings LB Anthony Barr has been a frequent target of Packers fans’ ire on social media since his Oct. 15 hit that broke Rodgers’ collarbone. It’s a safe bet Packers fans will let him know what they thought of the play.
Another round with Hundley
Packers QB Brett Hundley threw three interceptions after coming in for Rodgers at U.S. Bank Stadium, before losing four of his first five starts. Hundley showed improvement in guiding the Packers to two overtime victories, but he will be in for a tough test against the Vikings defense.
Two key matchups
Vikings DE Everson Griffen vs. Packers LT David Bakhtiari
Bakhtiari said this week the Packers would “play to the whistle” with Barr, but he will have a busy night with Griffen, who had a sack vs. the Packers on Oct. 15 in a game Bakhtiari left after aggravating a hamstring injury. Griffen, who turned 30 on Friday, has three sacks in his past three games at Lambeau Field.
Vikings WR Adam Thielen vs. Packers CB Davon House
Thielen had the biggest game of his career last Dec. 24 at Green Bay, catching 12 passes for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. House (back) is questionable, but even if he plays, the Packers’ injury-ravaged secondary could have a hard time slowing Thielen.
One stat that matters
29: Hundley’s completion percentage when pressured this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Only four QBs have a lower percentage.
The Vikings will win if …
• They establish the run against a defense that’s given up at least 120 yards in each of its past four games, while applying enough pressure to Hundley to keep him from making plays outside the pocket.
The Packers will win if …
• They get an inspired effort despite having no playoff prospects. Hundley must make a few big plays, and the defense might need its best effort in more than a month.
Goessling’s win probability