5 reasons the Packers will beat the Vikings (and 1 reason they might not)
Can a stadium help inspire a team to victory? The Minnesota Vikings are hoping so.
The Vikings open the more than $1 billion
Zygi Palace Metrodome II U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night,and they’re hoping all the hype,hoopla and excitement (the Vikings have lined up some foreign soccer player to lead a chant,a “Game of Thrones” actor and some type of knock-off version of Prince as part of the opening game festivities) will carry them to a rare win over the hated Packers.
But let’s cut through the nonsense for a minute: Are the Vikings really going to play harder and more inspired because it’s their first game in a new stadium? A stadium that was funded by taxpayers and will make their team owner even more filthy rich than he already is? Will the Vikings go that extra mile because coach Mike Zimmer rallies his troops with a rousing pregame speech that goes something like this: “Men,our great leader,Mr. Zygi Wilf,reached into the pockets of the good taxpayers of Minneapolis to build us this giant palace. He then charged these same taxpayers thousands of dollars for seat licenses and $11 for a beer. If we don’t at least win our first freaking game here,people may tear this place down!”
The answer is no. I don’t think a generic billion-dollar building gifted to a greedy multi-billionaire by the good folks of Minneapolis is going to inspire the Vikings to play well and beat the Packers tonight. Yes,U.S. Bank Stadium will be loud. Yes,fake noise will be piped in. Yes,it’ll be hard for the Packers to communicate on offense.
But guess what? All of that also happened at the Metrodome whenever the Packers played the Vikings. And all of that happens at just about every NFL stadium. U.S. Bank Stadium is going to be loud and crazy whenever the Vikings play at home,whether it’s the first game,eight game for 452nd game. The impact the stadium will have on tonight’s opening game is being vastly overblown. If the Vikings do (gulp) beat the Packers,it will have little to do with the opening of the new Zygi World,and everything to do with the Vikings defense,coaching and on-field execution.
Here are five reasons why the Packers will overcome whatever the Vikings throw at them– stadium included — and improve to 2-0:
Old Man Adrian
Don’t get me wrong,whenever Peterson takes a handoff and glides forward,I hold my breath,grip the couch real tight and say a prayer. Even at 31 years old,Peterson remains a physical specimen and a scary player. But Peterson’s numbers are fading. Over his last nine games,he’s averaging just 66.7 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. He’s gone over 70 yards just once in his last seven games and looked rusty last week against Tennessee. I’ll still cringe whenever Peterson gets the ball,but age might be finally catching up with him.
What is wrong with you people?
As long as we’re talking about Peterson we need to address another issue: Why do so many Vikings fans continue to dress their children in No. 28 Peterson jerseys? THE MAN ADMITTED TO BEATING HIS OWN CHILD BLOODY WITH A TREE BRANCH!!!! The last thing you want to do as a parent is dress your kid in that monster’s jersey. Now,I’m not going to pretend that I wouldn’t cheer every time Peterson ran for a first down if he played for the Packers — I have no problem with Vikings fans continuing to cheer Peterson whenever he helps their team — but I damn sure wouldn’t dress my children in his jersey. Vikings fans,I tell ya…
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh whiffed wide left on a 27-yard field goal that would have beat Seattle in the playoffs last season. Last week he missed two more field goals and an extra point. If Walsh’s whiffing ways continue Sunday night,it could be the difference in what likely will be a close game.
Two words: Damarious Randall
A lot has been made about the fact that Packers CB Sam Shields will likely miss tonight’s game with a concussion. Whenever a player of Shields’ caliber is out,he will be missed,but I think Damarious Randall is ready to break out. If Randall can guard Vikings WR Stefon Diggs as well as he covered the Jags two big receivers last week,the QB-strapped Vikings will have an even tougher time moving the ball and scoring points. Is Randall — long sleeves and all — up for the challenge? I think so.
Keep it up,coach
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is 15-5-1 against the Vikings and 3-1 against the Vikings with Mike Zimmer as head coach. The dominance McCarthy’s teams have had over the Vikings have many people questioning whether Packers vs. Vikings is even a rivalry game any more. Heck,Zimmer himself even questioned it this week. When the Packers need to squash the “rival” Vikings,McCarthy knows what buttons to push. Here’s hoping he pushes the right one later tonight.
Yeah,yeah,yeah,every now and then the Vikings sneak out a win in this “rivalry” game. It happened a few times with a certain No. 4 who dressed in purple for a few games and played QB in Minnesota. And it happened at the end of last season when the Packers offense decided to take the last two months of the year off. If it happens again tonight,this might be why:
The Vikings defensive line led by Everson Griffen and his 22.5 sacks over the last two seasons is legit. If they can get pressure by only rushing four,forcing Aaron Rodgers to rely on his improvisational skills instead of getting into a rhythm on offense,it’ll be tough for the Packers to pull this one out.