Written by Rance Gardner
After missing the playoffs in 2018, the Minnesota Vikings are on the cusp of returning to the postseason. With a victory next Monday against the Packers or a loss by the Rams the Saturday before, the Vikings will clinch a playoff birth. Beating Green Bay also keeps the door open for a division title and playoff home game. Minnesota and it's fans will be cheering for the 49ers to take down the Rams on Saturday night. Regardless of what happens Saturday, the game Monday is as big as it gets for the regular season.
The Vikings lost to the Packers week 2 this season because of a completely bogus penalty after a booth review of a Stefon Diggs touchdown. Vikings fans remember all too well the call that stole 7 points from us. Dalvin Cook was called for offensive pass interference and was nowhere near the play. What's even worse is the Packers never challenged the play, it came from the league office when nobody asked them to intervene. Minnesota will be looking for revenge and a chance to spoil Green Bay's hopes for a higher seed. Diggs has had some big games against Green Bay, Thielen too.
The Vikings will need to look to their dynamic duo early and often with star running back Dalvin Cook banged up. Rookie Alexander Mattison missed last game due to an ankle injury and Minnesota is hoping he can return to the lineup. Dalvin Cook was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career this week, hopefully he gets back on the field sooner than later. Kirk Cousins was snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting. Somehow Aaron Rodgers was selected even though Kirk has had a much better season.
The Vikings once dominant defense has slipped some this year specifically in the pass game. However the last 2 games the defense has improved dramatically and they have forced turnovers like crazy. This all happening with Xavier Rhodes getting limited snaps. The Vikings forced 7 turnovers on the road in Los Angeles last weekend. It was the 13th time in team history that Minnesota has forced 7 turnovers or more in a game. Danielle Hunter has been an absolute monster this season and dominated the line of scrimmage against the Chargers. He forced 2 fumbles and recovered another. The Vikings had 2 defenders named to the Pro Bowl this week. Defensive end Danielle Hunter and safety Harrison Smith were selected to represent Minnesota. Eric Kendricks was snubbed yet again. He was not selected despite being PFF's No. 1 rated linebacker in the NFL. Proving once again it is just a popularity contest.
A big week 16 is ahead for the Vikings and their fans. It all begins Saturday night when the Rams travel to San Francisco. If LA loses, the Vikings will have punched their ticket into the postseason. If LA wins, the Vikings will have to wait until Monday night when they get sweet revenge on the cheaters, sorry I mean Packers. SKOL