Surprisingly, the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers head into their first head to head this season with an identical record (2-2). Aaron Rodgers is coming off an incredible performance against another division rival, while Teddy Bridgewater has suddenly given hope to a team that was preparing for a very depressing season.
But in classic Vikings tradition, Bridgewater, right after having a very good game in the win over the Atlanta Falcons, is questionable for the visit to Lambeau field. He has an ankle injury, which means we might see Christian Ponder, who has yet to throw a pass this season and lost the starting job last year, struggling to show any real progress in his ability to avoid mistakes and make plays without running back help on his third season.
The Vikings are coming off a 41-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Despite not throwing any touchdowns, Bridgewater threw for 317 yards on 19-of-30, making the most of what is so far the worst defense in the NFL. Rookie Jerrick McKinnon ran for 135 yards on 18 carries, but it was Matt Asiata with three touchdowns and Bridgewater himself with one run for a score making the most of all the hard work from the rookie.
The Vikings have been doing a good job against the pass more or less this season, but there are still questions about their defense. If they learned something from the Packers torching the Bears in a 38-17 win is that sticking to a zone defense and giving Aaron Rodgers time is a bad idea. Rodgers is averaging 309.8 yards per game in his last nine regular season matchups with the Vikings, and he completed 78.6% of his passes while throwing for four touchdowns in the win over the Bears.
Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson caught two each and combined for 221 yards, catching 17 passes. The running game with the promising Eddie Lacy hasn’t been as expected, with the Packers averaging just 73 yards per game so far, but doing very badly in stopping the run: They’ve allowed 176 yards on the ground per game, which means the Vikings are probably going to be handing the ball off quite a lot, regardless of who is playing quarterback.
How much does history and head to head record play a part? The Vikings haven’t won in Green Bay since November 2009 when Brett Favre was still playing. Since then they’ve lost four games and left last year with a tie. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t playing in that game, which kinda explains it. Just like the Lions did two weeks ago, shaking Rodgers and winning the battles in the trenches will be the key to this game, because if the Packers get into a passing rhythm, the Vikings don’t have the offense to keep up.