The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers square off in prime time on Sunday night for the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
With possibly a new quarterback in the fold for Minnesota and key starters out for both teams, here are five things to watch for when the Vikings and Packers kickoff on Sunday night.
Is Sam Bradford ready?
With Bradford taking snaps with the first-team all week, many are reporting that Bradford will make his Vikings debut on Sunday against the Packers. Shaun Hill, started at quarterback last week and led Minnesota to victory.
With more practice under his belt and considering what the Vikings gave up to get Bradford, fans should expect Bradford to be the team’s quarterback the rest of the way.
Bradford also has a chance to be successful with key players on the Packers defense out for Sunday.
Can AP rebound?
Adrian Peterson had a game to forget last week in the regular season opener at Tennessee. Peterson rushed 19 times for just 31 yards. Even coming off a bad game, you can still expect Peterson to get the ball a lot on Sunday.
History also tells us that Peterson performs well against Green Bay. In 16 career games against the Packers, Peterson has averaged 110 yards per game and has scored 13 touchdowns.
Two key members of the Vikings defense, Xaiver Rhodes and Sharrif Floyd, are out. Offensive lineman Matt Kalil who’s never missed a start in his career also missed time this week with an injury but returned to practice on Friday.
Minnesota has depth on the defensive line to make up for Floyd’s injury but with Rhodes out, second-year corner Trae Waynes will get another start for the Vikings.
Taking advantage of turnovers
Aaron Rodgers has played nearly flawless football against the Vikings in his career. In 16 starts, Rodgers has won 11 games while throwing 34 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions.
With Rodgers playing such a surgical game against the Vikings, Minnesota must take advantage of a turnover if Rodgers makes a mistake.
Can Zimmer rattle Rodgers?
Even during his time in Cincinnati, Mike Zimmer’s defenses have held Rodgers to a passer ratting 15 points below his career average. In six starts against Zimmer, Rodgers has won just three times.
When the Vikings defeated the Packers at Lambeau last year to win the NFC North, they did so by pressuring Rodgers. A key player to watch is Everson Griffen who in 13 career games against Green Bay has racked up 9 sack and 12 tackles for a loss.