Sunday: Noon at U.S. Bank Stadium (Ch. 9 and 100.3-FM)
ABOUT THE PACKERS
• The Packers are coming off a 13-3 season and NFC North title that ended with a 37-20 loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game. A few starters, including former right tackle Bryan Bulaga, left in free agency, but a talented core remains around quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
• Green Bay’s top-10 scoring defense (ninth, 19.6 ppg) was its first since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, and Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Kenny Clark return up front.
• The Packers’ top offseason acquisition was first-round quarterback Jordan Love, who is No. 3 on the depth chart. Second-round running back A.J. Dillon is listed No. 3, behind Aaron Jones — who tied for the NFL lead with 16 rushing touchdowns a year ago — and Jamaal Williams.
• Mounds View graduate Billy Turner could replace Bulaga at right tackle, but the Packers are in a “holding pattern,” according to coach Matt LaFleur, waiting to see if his knee injury will be healed enough by Sunday.
PLAYER SPEAK: QB AARON RODGERS
• Rodgers enters his 16th NFL season coming off his fourth NFC title game appearance. It’s his seventh year with Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams, but questions remain about the rest of Rodgers’ targets.
• When asked last month how much longer he envisioned being in Green Bay, Rodgers, 36, said: “I don’t know what the future holds. I know I can control this year and my play and my approach and my attitude.”
• LaFleur on Rodgers’ ability to improvise as he ages: “He’s still moving really, really well. I think when opportunities present themselves, then he’ll take advantage of those. When they don’t, he’ll find a way to get the ball out of his hands.”
• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is not questioning what Rodgers has left: “I was watching some tape on him [Wednesday], and some of the plays he makes take your breath away. It’s kind of like watching Barry Sanders run the football.”
COACH SPEAK MATT LaFLEUR
• LaFleur was the only first-year NFL head coach with a winning record last season, finishing 13-3 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs.
• LaFleur is part of the Shanahan coaching tree, coming up under 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (and Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak) with the Houston Texans in 2008, and he’s implemented an offense with play-action elements similar to those used by Kubiak’s Vikings.
• On if his experience with Kubiak is helpful in knowing what to expect when facing the Vikings: “You want to be careful to how much you give to one side of the ball, because quite honestly a lot of us evolve, adapt and change based on our personnel. I think Coach Koobs has always been an unbelievable play caller and play designer. So I’m sure he’s going to have a pretty good scheme for us come Sunday.”