America will be watching. Sunday’s Vikings-Packers game is so intriguing it was moved to the prime time slot. Coverage from Green Bay starts at 7:30 p.m. on NBC (Ch. 11).
Bridgewater, Teddy. The Vikings QB will get to introduce himself to the Green Bay crowd on Sunday. It will be his first game at Lambeau Field. The second-year QB missed last season’s game in Green Bay with an ankle injury.
Cold? Yeah, kinda. The forecast high Sunday in Green Bay is 28 degrees, with nighttime lows expected in the teens.
Division title, anyone? Sunday’s winner is the NFC North champion. Green Bay was won the last four. The Vikings last won the North in 2009.
Eddie Lacy averages 106.8 rushing yards against the Vikings — that’s 42.6 yards per game more than he averages against the rest of the league. “I don’t know if he’s got something against the Minnesota Vikings or what,” Captain Munnerlyn said.
Forty-five: Rushing yards for Adrian Peterson against the Packers earlier this season at TCF Bank Stadium. In 16 career games (including one playoff game) against Green Bay, this Nov. 22 game was his worst rushing performance. He’s eager to improve on that performance. Friday’s Star Tribune will feature a story on Peterson, who has a 64-yard lead on Tampa’s Doug Martin in the race for the season-long rushing title.
Going to the game with hopes of scalping a ticket? Bring your paycheck. The worst seat in the house is going for $100 on StubHub. Good ones are more than $500.
Home playoff game for the Vikings? If they win Sunday, yes indeed, and they’ll play host to Seattle. If the Vikings lose, they’ll be headed back to Green Bay (if Seattle beats Arizona on Sunday) or to Washington to play the Redskins (if Arizona beats Seattle).
In Arizona, is the answer to your follow-up question about where that Cardinals-Seahawks game is being played Sunday. When this all shakes out, the Vikings will be playing Green Bay, Seattle or Washington. Jim Souhan wrote about those possibilities this week.
Jordy Nelson hasn’t played this season for Green Bay, and his absence has been obvious. The Packers have struggled to throw deep since their top receiver injured his knee in August: they rank in the bottom quarter of the league in total offense, passing yards per game, third-down conversions and long completions. The Vikings certainly won’t miss Nelson. He has scored more TDs (seven) against Minnesota than any other opponent.
Karma took the day off on Nov. 1, 2009. That’s the day Brett Favre rode back into Green Bay and beat the Packers. He’s the last Vikings quarterback to win in Lambeau Field. (Karma was on duty the following season, however, when Favre went to Lambeau Field for the last time … and threw three picks to his former team in the Vikings’ 28-24 loss).
Las Vegas likes the Packers on Sunday. Green Bay is favored by 3. What’s your prediction?
Mike Zimmer has yet to beat the Packers as the Vikings head coach. In fact, the Packers have averaged 30 points per game against Zimmer-led defenses (Cincinnati Bengals, Zimmer’s previous team, included) since 2009.
Over the river and through the woods: We are sending four Star Tribune photographers and a videographer to the big game. You can follow their 280-mile journey to Green Bay with their travelogue in pictures at startribune.com/stribsports. We hear the Leinie Lodge is on the way there.
Peterson has averaged 112 rushing yards per game against the Packers during his career. The Vikings running back has played them 16 times, the length of a regular season, and rushed for 1,792. Only once in an actual season has Peterson topped that number (2,097 in 2012).
Questionable health could be a key issue for Green Bay on Sunday. Left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga are battling injuries. The Packers’ line gave up nine sacks last weekend to Arizona, while the Vikings had four sacks against the Giants. Pressuring Rodgers is key for Minnesota.
Rodgers had three first-half touchdown passes against the Vikings the last time the two teams played at Lambeau. Green Bay rolled, winning 42-10. Rodgers is 12-4 against the Vikings in his career, averaging 2.1 touchdowns per game.
Ss on their chests? No, says Bridgewater. The Vikings QB says the Vikings can’t let this big game become an overwhelming moment. “We just have to do our job and do it well,” he said.
Television ratings are expected to be through the roof. Almost 18 million people watched the Vikings beat the Giants last Sunday night, and this game is expected to beat that.
Unbelievably, the Packers have lost to both last-place teams in the North, Chicago and Detroit, at home this season. The last time the Packers were swept by division foes at home was 1968.
Various bars and restaurants around the Twin Cities are Packers bars. Some are incognito, some are loud and proud with the green and gold. We counted 14 Cheesehead haunts in our sports bars project earlier this year. Check it out here: startribune.com/sportsbars.
When is the last time the Vikings beat the Packers? It came in another season-finale: Dec. 30, 2012, at the Metrodome. Peterson ran for 199 yards and Blair Walsh kicked a 29-yard gimmie at the buzzer for the 37-34 victory. Since then, the Packers have won five and there was a tie in 2013. That 2012 game is not the only cause of deja vu this week. Mark Craig wrote earlier this week that this matchup feels a lot like the first Vikings-Packers game this season.
Xs and Os master Dom Capers, the Packers defensive coordinator since the 2009 season, is 10-3-1 vs. the Vikings.
You might want to check all your light bulbs, Lambeau Field scoreboard operator. The Vikings have scored 100 points in their past three games. Green Bay put up 30 against Minnesota in November and 42 against the Vikings in their last meeting at Lambeau.
Zygi Wilf, the Vikings’ principal owner, bought the team in 2005. Since then, his team is 6-15-1 against Green Bay, including the Jan. 5, 2013 playoff loss.