Each week, BringMeTheNews will analyze the Vikings’ upcoming game from both sides, and give you “5 key reasons the Vikings will win.” This week the Vikings travel to historic Lambeau Field to face their rival Green Bay.
For 5 key reasons the Vikings should be worried, click here.
5. Josh Robinson emerging
Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson has been the subject of a lot of criticism, especially over the last year for lackluster coverage. He was also the subject of criticism from Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer after a nagging hamstring injury bothered him throughout training camp.
But so far this season, Robinson's play has been outstanding. According to the Pioneer Press, Robinson remained aggressive against the Falcons dynamic receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.
He even intercepted his second pass of the season on the game's final play on Sunday.
"If you can be aggressive and do your assignment, you can only come out on top," Robinson told the newspaper. "Sometimes they make great catches; they get paid just like you do. But in the end, assignment football wins."
4. Packers on the decline?
Like the Vikings, Green Bay comes into Thursday night's game at 2-2 on the season, and it seems the once high-flying Packer offense has had some tough times to start the year and Green Bay's defense continues to struggle.
The Daily Norseman took a look at the Packers by the numbers and found Green Bay's offense may not be what it once was.
- Packers offense ranked 28th in total yards per game (306.5)
- 16th in points per game (23)
- 30th in rushing attempts/game
- 25th in rushing yards/carry
- 28th in rushing yards/game
And the Packers Defense:
- 26th in total yards allowed per game
- 32nd in third down percentage allowed (53%)
- 32nd in rushing yards per game (176)
3. Greg Jennings ready for boos in Green Bay
Vikings receiver Greg Jennings will make his second appearance at Lambeau Field on Thursday night and he is expecting to receive more than scattered boos.
During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Jennings was asked if any part of him wishes he had remained in Green Bay.
"Honestly, to be honest, no," Jennings said. "It doesn't because – and this is sincerity right here – it really has nothing to do with football. From a football standpoint, I would have loved to have finished my career out in Green Bay, but from where I am spiritually and where I am with my family and the growth that we've had because of what we have around us educationally – and there was some great educational systems there, as well – but this is a step up for us."
According to ESPN, Jennings was a wildly popular player for the Packers during his time in Green Bay. He posted three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons and was a key member of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV team, but was booed in his return.
Still Jennings said that didn't bother him.
"I can't concern myself with that," Jennings told reporters. "I was on that side when Brett [Favre] came back, so I understand the reaction he got. So I don't expect it to be anything better than that."
2. Teddy can play, if he can play
If you watched the game you saw it for the first time in a long time. Teddy Bridgewater became the eighth different Vikings quarterback to start a game for the team since the 2009 NFC Championship game, and hopefully he is the last different one to do that for awhile.
Former Vikings quarterback and Pioneer Press columnist Fran Tarkenton says Bridgewater didn't just have a "good first game" or a "good game for a rookie." Tarkenton says Bridgewater had a "great game, period."
Considering Bridgewater threw for 317 yards and ran for a touchdown without turning the ball over, it's hard to argue his point.
"What stuck out to me were his eyes. Scouts and talking heads like to talk about arm strength and legs, but I think the eyes are the most important thing for a quarterback. What do you see, sometimes just out of the corner of your eye? Can you look off a defender to put your receiver in a favorable situation?
And when the time comes, can you focus on your target and deliver the throw exactly where it needs to go?
Teddy Bridgewater did all of those things Sunday."
If only we knew for sure that he would be able to play Thursday night after spraining his ankle during the fourth quarter of Sunday's win. He did not practice on Tuesday.
1. Balance on the ground
Coaches will often say it is difficult for one person to replace a superstar's production. The Vikings found out on Sunday that two people were able to do the job of replacing Adrian Peterson a lot more efficiently than one had.
Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata combined to run for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Individually it was an impressive day for both, but combined they provided numbers that Peterson would have been proud of.
The running game will have to continue to be an important part of the Vikings success. It will keep the pressure off Bridgewater (or Christian Ponder, if Teddy's unable to play) and the Packers still have issues stopping the run. Even in a game that Green Bay won 38-17 last week over the Bears, Chicago found a way to run 235 yards and controlled the clock.
If the Vikings can do the same and not turn it over, they could have a chance at leaving Lambeau with the victory.
Too positive for you? Then here are “5 key reasons the Vikings should be worried about the Green Bay Packers.”