NFL PREVIEWS |

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Predictions 12-23-2019


The Minnesota Vikings' fourth-ranked ground attack has run roughshod over teams throughout the season, but the health of the team's potent backfield appears to be trending in the wrong direction. With Pro Bowl selection Dalvin Cook and backup Alexander Mattison nursing injuries, the Vikings may need to rely on Kirk Cousins in Monday's game against the visiting Green Bay Packers.

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Although Green Bay walked away with a 21-16 victory in the NFC North rivals' first encounter on Sept. 15, Cook gashed the club for 154 yards on 20 carries -- including a 75-yard touchdown. Cook, however, likely will be a spectator due to shoulder and chest injuries while Mattison (ankle) may stand next to him as third-stringer Mike Boone figures to get the start. While the Vikings are attempting to secure a playoff berth by remaining undefeated at home, the Packers can wrap up the NFC North title should they post their fourth straight victory. "We have the inside track at the 2-seed," Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "Obviously, we have an opportunity to wrap up the division, which guarantees a home game and the third seed, at worst. I like our chances. I like our football team."

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Vikings -5.5 O/U: 46

ABOUT THE PACKERS (11-3): Aaron Jones showed glimpses of what became a career season by erupting for 150 scrimmage yards (116 rushing, 34 receiving) and the first of his five multi-touchdown performances in the first encounter with Minnesota. Jones continued his torrid play with two more scores in Sunday's 21-13 victory over Chicago, giving him 17 (14 rushing, three receiving) on the season -- the most by a Green Bay running back since Ahman Green had 20 in 2003. Defenses solely can't focus on the run game with Davante Adams on the outside, as the talented wideout collected at least seven receptions for the sixth time this season on Sunday. Adams also had seven catches for 106 yards in the first meeting this season versus the Vikings, although he was held without a touchdown grab in that contest after finding the end zone in each of the previous three games against Minnesota.



ABOUT THE VIKINGS (10-4): Cousins traditionally has fared well against Green Bay, throwing for 1,372 yards and 11 touchdowns with a 112.8 passer rating in four career contests. The 31-year-old threw for just one score for the second straight week in Sunday's 39-10 romp over the Los Angeles Chargers, although an opportunistic defense paved the way with seven turnovers. Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter, who had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery last week, became the youngest player to reach 50 career sacks after registering an NFL third-best 13.5 in 14 games this season. Safety Harrison Smith is headed to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl after recording his third interception of the campaign in last week's victory over the Chargers, and he had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Week 2 encounter with the Packers.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Minnesota needs one win in the final two weeks or one loss by the Los Angeles Rams to clinch a playoff spot.

2. Green Bay's Blake Martinez leads the NFL with 140 tackles while fellow LB Preston Smith (11.5) and Za'Darius Smith (10) have combined for 21.5 sacks.

3. Vikings K Dan Bailey was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after making all four of his field goal attempts against the Chargers.

Prediction

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

U.S. Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Capacity: 65,400

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Last Injuries

Minnesota Vikings

  • Ben Gedeon

    Undisclosed
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Gedeon is on the active PUP list due to an unspecified ailment. The severity of it is unknown.

  • Armon Watts

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Watts has been placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss an extended period.

  • Cameron Smith

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Smith has been posted on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it has yet to be announced how long he will be on the shelf.

  • Oli Udoh

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Udoh is come in contact with the COVID-19 virus, and the team has put him on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list as a result. The severity of the illness is unknown.

  • Ifeadi Odenigbo

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Odenigbo has wound up on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it is unknown how long he will be out of action.

  • Anthony Barr

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Barr is been moved to the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it is unclear when it will be safe for him to get back on the field.

  • Quartney Davis

    Undisclosed
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Davis will spend an undetermined length of time on the active Non-Football Injury list due to an undefined ailment.

  • Michael Pierce

    Personal
    I-R | I-R

    Pierce has hit the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list after letting the team know that he has decided to sit out the entire 2020 season due to a personal reason.

Green Bay Packers

  • Patrick Taylor Jr.

    Foot
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Taylor Jr. has been posted to the active Non-Football Injury list while he is on the mend from surgery to fix a Lisfranc injury in his foot. It is unclear how much time he will miss.

  • Hunter Bradley

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Bradley has been shifted to the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and the severity of the ailment is unknown.

  • Curtis Bolton

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Bolton has been moved to the active PUP list as he is recuperating from a torn ACL, and there is no timetable for return.

  • Yosh Nijman

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Nijman has been added to the active PUP list while rehabbing a torn ACL. There is no timetable for recovery.

  • Simon Stepaniak

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Stepaniak has wound up on the active Non-Football Injury list with a torn ACL and will miss an extended period.

  • Treyvon Hester

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Hester has hit the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and there is no timetable for return.

  • Mason Crosby

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Crosby has landed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Jace Sternberger

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Sterberger has been designated for the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss an extended period.