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Previewing Vikings at Packers After a nice opening week

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  • Previewing Vikings at Packers After a nice opening week

    win over the 49ers to start the season Minnesota Vikings T-Shirt , the Vikings move on to their annual visit to Lambeau Field, where they will try to make it four-in-a-row in the win column against their top division rival.RODGERS’ HEALTH STILL AN ISSUEJust like the last two games against the Packers, the health of the Packers’ franchise Aaron Rodgers remains an issue. I wouldn’t bet against him playing, and go with the assumption he will play until I hear otherwise, which I’m sure the Packers will keep under wraps as long as possible.The exact nature of the knee injury Rodgers suffered Sunday night against the Bears still isn’t known, but apparently there is pain and swelling, consistent with a mild MCL sprain, which could limit his mobility for at least a couple weeks, according to doctors who know this stuff. Dr. David Chao, a sports medicine physician often consulted on football injuries, seems to think he may have a mild grade 1 or 2 MCL sprain, which would limit his mobility for up to a month, but not prevent him from playing.If that is an accurate assessment, and given that the Packers have yet to acquire a decent backup QB to Rodgers, and it being a home game against their chief rival to the division crown, I’d be surprised if Rodgers didn’t play. There is a chance, if the diagnosis is a little more complicated- like if he tore his meniscus as well- that McCarthy may choose to start DeShone Kizer and effectively punt on this game, give Rodgers another week of rest and hope he can stay upright against a string of less daunting opponents until the Packers bye week. But I wouldn’t count on that.In any case his ability to be as deadly outside the pocket may be curtailed quite a bit if he starts on Sunday.THE VIKINGS OFFENSE MATCHES-UP WELL AGAINST THE PACKERS DEFENSEWhen I first saw this road game on the schedule week two, I thought the timing was an advantage for the Vikings for a couple reasons.First, weather would not be an issue in Green Bay in September; and second, the Packers have a lot of new faces in their defensive secondary, and with only one real game under their belts, they may still experience some growing pains against the best WR duo in the league Minnesota Vikings Hats , and with a QB that knows how to throw the deep ball well.I still like the WR-DB matchup for the Vikings WRs against the Packers young DBs.Beyond that, still looking at the Vikings offense, the offensive line may be helped by a lack of a Packers outside pass rush.Both Clay Matthews and Nick Perry were ineffective against the Bears on Sunday, and struggled much of the season last year generating an effective pass rush.DE Mike Daniels is a stud, but beyond him Dean Lowry and Frank Clark haven’t been that effective as pass rushers.Even Daniels wasn’t as good a pass rusher against the Bears as he was stout against the run. Looking at the second and third level run defense for the Packers - and even some guys up front - they haven’t done that well.That could lead to some big runs for the Vikings on Sunday.VIKINGS DEFENSIVE LINE VS. PACKERS OFFENSIVE LINEOne thing that doesn’t get a lot of attention in evaluating the Green Bay Packers is their offensive line, which has been declining over the years.Once upon a time, the Packers had the best guard duo in the league with Josh Sitton and TJ Lang.They are both long gone, replaced now by Lane Taylor, who has been average, and Justin McCray, who has been less so.Meanwhile two other linemen- center Corey Linsley and right-tackle Bryan Bulaga - are coming off down years and struggled against the Bears Sunday night. Only David Bakhtiari continues to play at a high level - one of the best left tackles in the league.But overall, the Packers have seen a steady degradation in their offensive line talent over the years - and that showed up Sunday night against the Bears.It wasn’t just Khalil Mack against Bryan Bulaga.It was Akiem Hicks and others against the Packers interior line.Meanwhile, the Vikings added Sheldon Richardson at DT, who led the league in pass rush productivity week one, and Danielle Hunter has emerged as a force at defensive end.And Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen are still pretty good too.All that translates into an advantage in the trenches the Vikings defensive line did not in past years. And with Aaron Rodgers mobility a question mark, that advantage could have more of an impact on Sunday in Green Bay.I would expect the Packers to run a lot of up-tempo - like they did in the second half against the Bears - to try to neutralize the Vikings pass rush.We’ll see how well that works.It can be difficult to execute against a top defense with a lot of continuity.PACKERS RECEIVERS VS VIKINGS DEFENSIVE BACKSJordy Nelson has been a thorn in the Vikings side against the Packers for several years.The last five games with both Nelson and Rodgers healthy and playing, Nelson averaged over 16 yards a reception, with 30 receptions for 484 yards.Rodgers’ average passer rating when targeting Nelson over those five games was 123.5.Now he’s gone.and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.Tashawn Bower (ankle) and Everson Griffen (personal issues) are both going to miss Sunday’s game for the Vikings Womens Customized Minnesota Vikings Jerseys , which means that they only have two defensive ends on the roster healthy enough to play on Sunday: Danielle Hunter and Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly has started the past two games in Griffen’s absence, and Hunter has had a strong start to the season. The rest of the defensive end depth chart, however, is on the shelf in some way. The Vikings had signed Jonathan Wynn to the practice squad earlier this week, but as of Saturday night had not made a move to place him on the main roster.It will be interesting to see how the Vikings handle this, and there are a couple of different potential solutions. First, the Vikings have rookie Jalyn Holmes available and could potentially use him as a defensive end. Holmes has not been active for a game yet this year, and primarily worked on the inside in camp as a three-technique tackle. However, he played a lot of defensive end in college and could fill that spot in a pinch.The other solution. . .and one that I’d, frankly, like to see. . .involved linebacker Anthony Barr. During the offseason, the Vikings had said that they were going to attempt to use Barr more as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, particularly in pass-rushing situations. However, we haven’t really seen much of that during this early portion of the regular season. With the situation the Vikings are currently looking at, however, they might not have much of a choice. The upside of that is that it would give Barr the opportunity to get after the opposing quarterback, and it would keep him far away from opposing wide receivers. This can only be considered a good thing.Like I said, I’m not sure exactly what the Vikings are going to do as far as their defensive end situation on Sunday, but they don’t have a whole lot of readily-available solutions at this point, either.