Week 8 Preview: Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packersby MJ Hurley October 30, 2020 1 comment
The story of the 2020 NFL season has been injuries. The matchup between NFC North division rivals will be no different on Sunday afternoon. The Green Bay Packers (5-1) may again be without Aaron Jones and Kevin King, and the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) had all four starting defensive backs on the injury report Wednesday and Thursday.
Green Bay injury outlook
Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur spoke to the reality of injuries in the NFL on Thursday, saying ”Sometimes these things happen, and it’s unfortunate.” LaFleur and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine reinforced their confidence in whomever will be on the roster come Sunday.
Kicker Mason Crosby was added to the injury report on Wednesday for Green Bay. Crosby has started 234 straight games for the Packers since being drafted in 2007, which is first among active kickers in the NFL. While he is expected to play this weekend, special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga said Green Bay has contingency plans in case Crosby’s injuries (calf, back) worsen before Sunday.
Minnesota injury outlook
For the Vikings, Dalvin Cook returned to practice in limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday. His availability will be key if Minnesota hopes to keep up offensively with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak spoke to what role Cook is expected to play on Sunday. “He’s worked his load and practiced well, but Kennedy knows him better than anybody, so we’ll see where it goes. How Dalvin goes we normally go, so obviously we’ve got to get him going and get him back to work,” said Kubiak.
On the defensive end, Holton Hill, Mike Hughes and Cameron Dantzler have been in and out of practice all week and Dantzler was placed on the COVID-19 list Wednesday. The Vikings secondary that Rodgers torched in Week 1 will be depleted and vulnerable in their second meeting.
The bright spot in a disappointing start to the season has been the play of rookie receiver Justin Jefferson. The first round draft pick leads Minnesota in receiving with 537 yards and three touchdown receptions. With King questionable for Sunday’s matchup, Jefferson will likely have a much greater impact than he did in Week 1 (two catches for 26 yards).
With COVID-19 cases spiking in Wisconsin, Rodgers will have a silent stadium to work his hard count on a young and inexperienced Vikings secondary, as he did back in Week 1.
Date: November 1, 2020
Start Time: 12 P.M. cst
Location: Green Bay, WI
Stadium: Lambeau Field
TV Info: FOX
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: MIN +6 (+110) | GB -6 (-110)
Moneyline: MIN (+220) | GB (-270)
Over/Under: O 51 (-110) | U 51 (-110)
In their Week 1 matchup, Green Bay and Minnesota produced 77 points and there is little reason to think that the division rivals will not hit the over in Week 8. Even with Jones and Cook potentially being limited, Rodgers and Cousins will take full advantage of weakened secondaries. Expect the Packers to cover the spread and assist in smashing the over on Sunday.
Rodgers and Davante Adams exploded against the Vikings in the first game of the season, and no one even knows who will be covering the latter on Sunday. After a career performance (196 yards against the Texans last week), expect Adams and his quarterback to fill the stat sheet against Minnesota. Adam Thielen and Jefferson have favorable matchups against the Packers secondary, but the Vikings simply have not proven the ability to win shootouts in 2020, as Cousins has struggled to produce in crunch time. Fans should expect another high scoring, intense division game which results in a Packers victory.
Final Score: Minnesota Vikings 23, Green Bay Packers 31
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