The Minnesota Vikings dominated week 1 against the Falcons. What better way to start the season than to have Anthony Barr get a tone setting sack after deciding to return to the Vikings in free agency. The defense came out on fire and stifled Atlanta's offense. The Vikings defense forced 3 turnovers against a good Falcons offense. Minnesota's run game was on full display on offense. Dalvin Cook looked like a top 5 talent at his position and looked more explosive. Finally healthy, Cook is a force to be reckoned with. All of these positive signs give the Vikings great momentum heading into Sunday's matchup against arch rival Green Bay.
If the Vikings can pull out the victory on Sunday, it will mark over 1000 days since the Packers last beat them. I think the Vikings have all the right ingredients to keep the streak going. Any time you face Aaron Rodgers you have to be ready to defend extended pass plays and provide pressure so that he doesn't get comfortable. The Vikings defense is tailored to do both. The D line has the talent to make any QB's day miserable, and the secondary has top tier talent all around. Throw in Barr's versatility with blitz looks, along with the depth on the line and the Vikings should be able to contain the Packers offense even on hostile ground. The injury to Mack Alexander is concerning but if the Vikings can contain Rodgers on roll outs and stop the run, they should be able to leave Lambeau field with a victory.
Offensively the Vikings are so versatile that QB Kirk Cousins only had to throw the football 10 times. He completed 8 of those and had a nice TD throw to Adam Thielen. Behind Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison, the Vikings imposed their will in the trenches. I imagine the Packers will game plan all week to limit the Vikings run game as much as they can. This should be a big game for Cousins. He will have the opportunity to put up numbers against a loaded box all day. The Vikings play action game will be key in generating opportunities downfield for the dynamic duo of Diggs and Thielen. Kyle Rudolph went without a catch last week, I anticipate he will have a bigger role on the road this weekend. If Minnesota can control the tempo of the game and field position, Mike Zimmer's defense should remain fresh so that they can terrorize Rodgers all afternoon.
Playing at Green Bay this early in the season has it's advantages. The weather is much warmer and the field is not a frozen tundra. The forecast for Sunday calls for thunderstorms, but a little rain is better than snow and -14 degree temperatures. Despite the weather the game will likely be won in the trenches. If Minnesota can pressure Rodgers, and Cook has success in the run game, the Vikings will leave Wisconsin 2-0.
Vikings win 20-17