As much as I hate to say it, the pieces are falling into place for our rivals and defending NFC North Champion Minnesota Vikings. Not only did they get the prized quarterback they were seeking in Kirk Cousins, they just added to that stellar defense in defensive tackle and former Seattle Seahawk Sheldon Richardson. Mike Zimmer has that team rolling but don’t kid yourself. They aren’t foolproof and they truly are beatable. In fact, it seems like the Packers are building up their roster that may eventually turn out to be the Vikings’ kryptonite. Where do the Vikings struggle the most? The obvious answer is the offensive line. Where is the Packers strength on the defensive side of the ball? Yes, that’s right. The big bodies lined up directly across from them. Games are won in the trenches and they always will be. Yes, flashy free agent receivers and cornerbacks are nice and do, in fact, help a team but the wide butts with their hands in the dirt ultimately decide who wins and who doesn’t. For that reason alone, I have faith in our Green Bay Packers to rise up in 2018 and take back the division.
It seems like the Packers are building up one of the more dominant defensive fronts in football. Daniels, Clark and Wilkerson potentially form a scary trio. All three of these guys can push the pocket and do it quickly. It often will take multiple bodies to deal with the front three allowing the edge to spring to life. That’s where the draft comes in for the Packers. With the fourteenth overall pick, watch the Packers get a premier pass rusher to compliment what’s already there. If you’ve followed the mock drafts and they change like the midwest weather, it seems likely the Packers will go after someone like Davenport, Key and maybe Landry. Adding another rusher to go with Matthews and Perry is a scary proposition for a Vikings offensive line that sprung a few leaks last season. In addition to the draft, there are some other variables. Let’s say, hypothetically, both Vince Biegel and Montravious Adams come into their own and make that vaunted “second-year leap” that everyone likes to talk about. What does the Packers defense look like then? With an explosive pass rush, the backend of the defense will not have to cover as long as the quarterback will get moved off his spot and the ball will likely have to come out far before he wants it to.
Finally, let’s address the secondary. It’s obvious that Nick Collins and Charles Woodson are not walking through the door at 1265 Lombardi Ave. They have to make do with what they have and can add in the draft. I also wouldn’t doubt it if we brought back a familiar face in Tramon Williams. He’s got experience with Mike Pettine’s defense and showed last year that he still has a little gas left in the tank. I guess I’d propose the question, would you rather see Tramon back in green and gold or Herb Waters trying to hold it down? Granted, I still think the Packers will be ok in the end because I see them packaging some picks and moving back into the first round. I have my opinion on that well-documented. If the Packers can add a premier pass rusher AND a quality cornerback to go along with King and Tramon Williams or Davon House, we could have it much worse. The Vikings are holding the title today but that doesn’t mean they hold it long-term. In fact, I think the Packers have found where the Vikings’ true weakness is and they are definitely attacking it. If the Packers can go through the Vikings line like proverbial swiss cheese, we may have another division banner. If they can shore up the backend a little more, we may have something far more meaningful and that’s another Lombardi Trophy.
Let me know what you think about what we need to do to overtake the purple. Are the Vikings due for a setback this year or is this their year? I guess I believe the Packers will be that team like there is every year that pops into the playoffs from a previous losing season. With Rodgers back, I’m sure the pundits will make them the sexy pick to do the same. As always, Go Pack Go!Robert Martin bleeds green and gold despite living in North Dakota, where many cheer for the purple. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @robertmartinPHD.