PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: A Fond Farewell?

Aaron Rodgers

The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is truly a terrible place.  It is an honest to goodness shanty. It (along with fake crowd noise being pumped in through speakers) has certainly provided the Vikings with a formidable home field advantage.  Minnesota is a very impressive 158-85 at the Humpty Dump.  As they say all bad good things must come to an end.  From a competitive advantage standpoint, I’m sure there are some Vikings fans that will be sad to see it go, but it’s not a place filled with fond memories.  The 1999 NFC championship game was played there, and the Vikings have not made a Super Bowl appearance at any point in there 31 years of patronage.

One thing that I will tell you for sure is that no Packer fan that makes the trip to Minneapolis on any kind of consistency will miss the place.  The teflon roof, the urinal troughs, the terrible upper deck seats, the over priced beer, it’s all a disaster.  It was a true house of horrors for the Favre era Packers.  As the Packers starting QB, Brett went 5-10.  It was awful.  Current Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, or as Greg Jennings calls him “the guy they have now” has not had quite as rough of a time, but is still only 2-3 in Minnesota.  It would definitely be nice to get a divisional road win and end the Metrodome era and despite the catastrophic injury situation that the Packers are currently dealing with, a victory seems to be at hand.

Why the Packers Will Win: They are a better team, top to bottom.  The Vikings have had an unreal run of health from 2009 to the present.  Even when their guys go down (AD) they have come back before expected.  That seems to be coming to an end.  The Vikings are starting to get beat up defensively, and the Vikings don’t have a Ted Thompson to create depth for them.  Harrison Smith is out.  Chad Greenway and AJ Jefferson are beat up.  The Minnesota Vikings are left with the worst secondary in the NFL, and The Green Bay Packers have the best QB in football.  The Green Bay Packers are now an awful matchup for the Minnesota Vikings.  The Packers have a well balanced offense, ranking 4th in the NFL in passing and 6th (!) in rushing offense.  The Vikings are not good at stopping either.  Green Bay, largely thanks to the return of Johnny Jolly and the reduction of BJ Raji’s snaps, boast the 3rd best rush defense in the NFL.  This is not an empty ranking either, having faced talented rushers Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Alfred Morris, Gio Bernard, Reggie Bush, and Ray Rice.  The (probable) return of Casey Hayward gives the Packers the deepest CB corps in the NFL, and I just don’t see how the Vikings offense attacks them.

Why the Vikings Will Win: They won’t.   Anyone who saw them play the previously winless Giants and not even put up a fight can understand that.  Adrian Peterson has had a lot of success statistically against the Packers, despite his 4-9 record in games against Green Bay.  It is possible that the Packers revamped run defense is still not capable of containing Peterson, and it is possible that he could “get loose”.  There certainly aren’t any statistics from this season that would bear that out, in fact Peterson and his offensive line have been doing a decent job of keeping All Day in check themselves.  It’s also possible that Christian Ponder could recapture lightning in a bottle like he did last year in the regular season finale, and that Greg Jennings, playing with something to prove could make an impact.  Jared Allen could cause problems for rookie LT David Bakhtiari.  All of these things are possible, but very unlikely.  Everthing had to fall just in to place last season for the Vikings to beat the Packers, at home, with their season on the line, healthier than they are now, and they won on a last second Blair Walsh field goal (who is also hurt).  It just isn’t going to happen.

Fantasy Packer to Start: Jarret Boykin- the correct answer to this question is actually “all of them”.  But being as this part of the column should actually be helpful, I’d like to tell you to believe in what you saw last week.  In this offense, the #2 WR is going to be fantasy relevant as long as Aaron Rodgers is the QB, especially when the slot receiver is an inexperienced Myles White.  If AJ Jefferson can’t play (and he isn’t good), the Vikings corners will be Chris, Xavier Rhodes, and Josh Robinson, with a sprinkling of Marcus Sherels.  That is fantastic news for the Green Bay passing offense.  My sneaky Myles White call didn’t pan out last week, but if you’re super desperate at tight end, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the week the Packers unveil the Brandon Bostick.

Fantasy Packer to Sit: Defense/Special Teams- I don’t really even believe in this call, but it’s the only Packer that you would normally start that I would even consider benching.  There is a universe in which the Packers get up big and let off the throttle enough where this either turns into a quasi-shootout or the Vikings accumulate enough during “garbage time” to make the Packers D/ST not a viable option.

Packers State of the Week: The Packers are top 6 in passing offense, rushing offense, and rushing defense.  This balanced attack has caused Green Bay to play from ahead in the majority of their game minutes, possibly leading (along with Casey Hayward’s injury) to their 24th ranked passing defense.

Bottom Line: The Packers very much need this win, and the Vikings and their fans have quit on Leslie Frazier.  I foresee the Packers and Aaron Rodgers offering an execution-like performance on Sunday.  In 2010, the Vikings, with unrealistically high hopes for their season (a lot like this year) were floundering under head coach Brad Childress.  Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came in to the Metrodome and delivered a 31-3 drubbing of the Vikings, and Childress was relieved of his duties as head coach.  I hate games like this against the Vikings.  Unless the Packers win by 3 possessions, it’s essentially a loss in the court of public opinion.  If the Packers win a close game, they did “what they were supposed to do” and beat  “bad team.”  If they lose, it’s colossally embarrassing,  especially considering I live in Minnesota.  Fortunately, as currently constructed, the Packers and their newly found rush defense are a terrible matchup for the Vikings, and Green Bay will roll.  Packers 38 Vikings 13

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Ross Uglem is a writer at PackersTalk.com. You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem

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