The Minnesota Vikings are at their last stand. Sitting at 1-5 after a home loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings come off their bye by heading to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers are sitting on top of the NFC North with a 5-1 record. After many expected the Packers to fall back to the rest of the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has had a revival and suddenly poses a significant Super Bowl threat.
With Tuesday's trade deadline up, this could be the last chance for the Vikings to make something out of 2020.
How will the Vikings stop the Packers' passing attack?
Back in Week 1, a big question was how the Vikings young corners would match up against Rodgers. The answer was not well, as Rodgers threw for 364 and four touchdowns in Green Bay's 43-34 victory.
This time around, the Vikings secondary could have an even bigger test against Rodgers. Mike Hughes (neck) and Holton Hill (foot) are both out with injuries, leaving an all-rookie trio of Cameron Dantzler, Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand tasked with slowing down the Green Bay offense.
With Davante Adams coming into Sunday's game white-hot, the Vikings young corners will have to come of age to pull off an upset?
Will youth finally be served?
The positive aspect of three rookies getting time in the secondary is that it could be a trend for the Vikings going forward. With Minnesota entrenched in last place in the NFC North, Mike Zimmer may turn to more of his younger players to see what they have.
For now, it doesn't appear that the Vikings will have a major youth movement. Earlier this week, ESPN's Courtney Cronin reported that Jalyn Holmes and his 3.2 pass rusher productivity rating would be starting over D.J. Wonnum after Yannick Ngakoue was traded to Baltimore. With Zimmer possibly coaching for his job, this makes sense.
But there's something to be said for getting youth on the field. The veterans are not getting the job done, so it might be time to see Wonnum or linebacker Troy Dye to see if they can add a spark.
How effective will Dalvin Cook be?
Throughout the week, Cook was considered ready to go for Sunday. In fact, he wasn't even listed on the injury report until late on Friday night. While the bulk of the news on Cook's status on good, it raises questions as to how effective he can be against the Packers.
Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak seemed to be confident about Cook's effectiveness, saying that Cook will be ready to handle a large load. With Mike Zimmer's recent track record with disclosing injuries, it's possible that "a tweak" could be a bad omen.
If the Vikings want to pull of an upset, Cook is going to have to be healthy enough to carry the load. If not, Green Bay's front seven could be at a major advantage and put more pressure on the Viking defense.
Who will see more of Jaire Alexander?
As mentioned in a piece at Zone Coverage, the Packers decision of how to use Jaire Alexander could tell us a lot about what other teams think about Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
Alexander has been outstanding in October, not allowing a single reception to the likes of Will Fuller, Mike Evans, and Calvin Ridley. But, Adam Thielen has been able to crack the code including 66 yards and a touchdown against Alexander in Week 1.
Although Thielen has been a thorn in Green Bay's side, Jefferson may not be far behind. Ranked as PFF's top receiver, it will be interesting to see how teams try to stop Jefferson moving forward. If it begins with Alexander shadowing the rookie, it could be a changing of the guard for the Vikings?
Is Sunday the Vikings' last stand?
As mentioned, the Vikings' season appears to be on life support. With the Packers considered one of the favorites in the NFC along with plenty of injury concerns, Sunday's game could get out of hand in a hurry.
If the Packers do win this game handily, the next couple of days will be interesting ahead of the NFL trade deadline. Riley Reiff, Harrison Smith, and Anthony Harris could be on the trade block and if that happens the jokes about tanking for Trevor Lawrence could get serious.
With the Vikings having an uncertain future heading into 2020, Sunday could be the last chance for the current group to convince the front office they should be part of it.