For all intents purposes, the Packers need a win in Minnesota. With the division slipping away and on the outside looking in when it comes to the Wild Card, Green Bay heads to U.S. Bank Stadium in search of their first road win of the season.
Aaron Rodgers broke his collar bone the last time he took the field in Minneapolis. What ensued was a season that ended with Green Bay missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“Obviously, I think about that day. It was a tough day going out that early in the game. Especially how we were rolling on offense through those first five games, but I feel good. My body feels good. I’m able to move around the way I want to move around. It’s been a frustrating season injury wise, but you don’t think about getting hurt. You think about playing and trying to avoid some of those hits outside the pocket,” said Aaron Rodgers.
This time Rodgers and company are in need of a road win to stay in the hunt for a trip to the postseason in 2018. Early in the season Rodgers made a comparison to another year that required the Packers to get hot late. That would be the “run the table” push in 2016.
“I think we have the squad to do it. Like I said after [the 49ers game], we need the moment that kind of brings us all together. Really the game in Philly was an important time for us. They weren’t world beaters at the time. I think they were 5-5 and we were 4-6, but we played the way we wanted to play. We controlled the ball for 35 plus minutes, converted third downs, scored touchdowns in the red zone, we had a big fourth and five to finish the game. That was the momentum starter for us, and it kind of went from there. We need that to happen this weekend,” said Rodgers.
Having more production on the offensive side of the ball is easier said than done against the Vikings. Minnesota sits fourth in the league in yards allowed per game and their 17 takeaways are tied seventh in the NFL.
It all starts with Rodgers. Green Bay’s offense this season has seen plenty of highs and lows. Starting with the comeback win against Chicago, but they have also missed opportunities late in games against the likes of New England, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
“The energy and the tempo starts with me in practice and in the game guys got to feel that even more. So, I’ve got to amp up my level during the game and playing faster. We can’t be having to take time outs because we’re not getting into the huddle and out of the huddle. So, I’ve got to bring it with the tempo, and obviously how I want to play,” said Rodgers.
In terms of the weapons at Rodgers disposal, Green Bay could get back Randall Cobb against Minnesota. He’s listed as questionable after missing the last two games due to a hamstring injury. Tight end Jimmy Graham may also give it a go against the Vikings after breaking his thumb last week in Seattle.
On the defensive side of the ball they will have to continue to lean on the young guys. Kyler Fackrell leads Green Bay in sacks and will see even more time on the field after Nick Perry was placed on injured reserve. Mike Daniels is also out with a foot injury. Meaning more will be put on the likes of Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, and perhaps even rookie James Looney. The seventh round pick was signed off the practice squad on Saturday to take Perry’s place on the roster.