Green Bay Packers’ 5 downs: Talking Vikings vs Packers with The Viking Age

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: Kenny Clark #97 and Reggie Gilbert #93 of the Green Bay Packers combine for a sack against Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: Kenny Clark #97 and Reggie Gilbert #93 of the Green Bay Packers combine for a sack against Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers host the defending NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings.

The Green Bay Packers are coming off an emotional roller-coaster, epic comeback win at the hands of Aaron Rodgers. In the blink of an eye, it appeared the Packers’ season could be over in week one, as Rodgers was carted to the locker room.

Rodgers appeared from the tunnel following halftime, in true heroic fashion. Leading the buried for dead Packers, to a thrilling come from behind win, over the archrival Chicago Bears.

This week doesn’t get any easier, as the Packers host the Vikings. Rodgers did not practice until Saturday while rehabbing his sprained knee. This week will be a big test for the Packers.

Helping us get ready for the division rivalry and a view from the Viking’s side is Adam Carlson. Carlson is a big part of FanSided. He is a site expert at not only The Viking Age, but Undead Walking as well.

Dairyland Express: First of all, I have to ask, from an NFC North rival view, what was it like to watch the Aaron Rodgers comeback on Sunday night? 

The Viking Age: I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the game on Sunday night. Since I cover Fear The Walking Dead as well, I was glued to the zombie apocalypse and Talking Dead that night.

However, I do believe from watching highlights that it confirmed just how much Rodgers means to the Packers, as if last season wasn’t enough of a reminder of that.

It also made me question the Bears, who looked like the new Monsters of the Midway early on but then absolutely fell apart. There is no doubt adding Mack to their defense was a huge bonus, but they didn’t look like a team that can play for a full four quarters.

Still, I’ll repeat what I’ve said for a long time: As long as Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers on the field, never count them out!

Dairyland Express: After week one, how would you assess the current state of the NFC North, as a whole?

The Viking Age: The biggest surprise in Week 1 in the division was the absolute collapse of the Detroit Lions. The Jets dominated them in every phase of the game, and experts will need to re-evaluate their pecking order when it comes to how teams in the NFC North are ranked.

Still, the Vikings and Packers should be the cream of the crop in the division. While it can be debated which team deserves to be the favorite, I have always been a defensive guy…so I have to believe that Minnesota deserves to be on the top after Week 1.

The wild card right now is Chicago. If they can be that team fans saw in Week 1 before the big Packers comeback, they could challenge for a playoff spot. However, with two tough teams in the division already, that could be a bigger task than they can handle with their young quarterback during the 2018 season. 

Dairyland Express: The Vikings cleaned house at the quarterback position and brought in Kirk Cousins. Is he enough to get the Vikings over the hump and back into a Super Bowl?

The Viking Age: When the Vikings gave the huge amount of money to Cousins to be the team’s quarterback, I was among those who were skeptical it was the right move. While they could have locked down a cheaper or less-proven passer and continued to play year-by-year, they opted to ensure the position for the next three years, If Cousins can do what Keenum did last year or even come close, he will be worth the investment.

But the real way the Vikings could get over the hump is some of their other acquisitions. Sheldon Richardson looked like an absolute stud in Week 1 and solidifies an already powerful defensive line. Since he’s between Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph, he doesn’t have to cover for other players and can be freed up to do his own thing.

All Cousins has to do is be decent and Minnesota can go far this year. The road to the Super Bowl will be tough, but it’s definitely possible this season, but it’s going to take a lot more than Cousins to get there.

Dairyland Express: This could be a tough question. Outside of Aaron Rodgers, what should be the number one concern for the Vikings heading into this game against the Packers?

The Viking Age: The young secondary of the Packers is something to be scared of. I was a strong advocate of the Vikings going after Jaire Alexander in the first round of the draft, so I do believe he’s going to be a very good player in the NFL. Plus, Josh Jackson fell into Green Bay’s laps.

While they may not have experience, they have speed and playmaking ability. The Vikings receivers are amazing with their route running, but if one of these youngsters can get an early read on a route, it could mean six points the other way…and giving the Packers points that way is something Minnesota cannot afford to do if they want any chance at winning.

Minnesota will be able to pressure Aaron Rodgers, but he’s such a good player and so much of a pro that he will make plays and get points on the board. It’ll be up to that Packers secondary to stop the Vikings and keep the game out of reach…but that’s asking a lot of young players against guys like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

Dairyland Express: Finally, give us your prediction of this week’s match-up and a brief description of how it pans out. 

The Viking Age: It feels like every time the Vikings and Packers meet, something big happens or the game goes down to the wire. This will probably not be an exception to that rule. I expect a great fight, especially when the Green Bay offense goes up against Minnesota’s defense.

But, as I said before, I’m a defensive minded person. I do believe that Minnesota will be able to contain the Packers enough to squeak out a win, but any time Rodgers is in the fold, there’s no telling how the day will pan out.

My only hope is that Aaron Rodgers is healthy enough to play at a high level. I want these two teams to go head-to-head as healthy as they can be and watch two of the best teams clash in a game that has huge playoff implications. No matter what, this will be one heck of a game that any NFL fan will want to watch.

Sunday’s game should be a good one. The battle for the NFC North crown isn’t so one-sided any longer. Aaron Rodgers will have his hands full with this Vikings team for years to come.

Follow Adam Carlson and The Viking Age by clicking on their names. Also, check out what we had to say in a reverse set of questions over at The Viking Age.