Packers vs. Vikings: Prediction, six questions with The Viking Age


Ahead of the Green Bay Packers’ divisional showdown with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, we spoke to The Viking Age site expert Adam Carlson.

This time last year the Packers hosted the Vikings as part of their incredible eight-game winning streak that took them from 4-6 to the NFC Championship Game.

It’s all a little different this time. The Packers’ playoff dreams are over, and they must now face a red-hot Vikings team without Aaron Rodgers.

But the show must go on, and Lambeau Field will be rocking just two sleeps before Christmas. I spoke to Vikings expert Adam Carlson this week to get his prediction for the game, as well as some insight on the Vikings.

You can find his great work over at The Viking Age. Here’s what Carlson had to say about the game.

What has been the key to the Vikings’ success in 2017?

Carlson: Depth. Most teams would have folded after losing their starting quarterback and starting running back for the season, along with several starters missing time on both offense and defense. But the fact Minnesota has players able to step in an play well says a lot about what the team has been building toward with the draft and free agency. Having young players to grow and develop under a head coach like Mike Zimmer can help make average players look very good.

More from Lombardi Ave

Case Keenum has played great football this year. Are you confident he can get it done in the playoffs?

Carlson: So far, Keenum has been playing some great football in place of Sam Bradford. He’s doing exactly what is asked of him by completing passes at a high rate and being efficient on third downs. His mobility has also helped to hide issues with the offensive line and buy time for plays to open up that haven’t really been there.

Keenum has earned the right to be the quarterback for the playoffs, but there has to be some kind of concern that he can maintain the high level of play throughout the playoffs.

Should Keenum be the Vikings’ starting quarterback in 2018 and beyond?

Carlson: This is the question that Vikings fans are wanting to avoid answering. At age 29, Keenum still has a lot left in the tank and fits what Minnesota wants to do very well. No fans should object to keeping him around, but he will likely make a lot more money elsewhere if he decides to test free agency. There’s no doubt that Minnesota would love to have him back, but with Bridgewater patiently waiting for another shot and Keenum set to cash in on his great season, it would be challenging for Minnesota to pull off.

Who is a Vikings player that Packers fans should look out for?

Carlson: Eric Kendricks.

Sure, it would be easy to go for some of the bigger names on defense like Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, or Linval Joseph, but Kendricks has been excellent in coverage this year, and his speed plus ability to read quarterbacks could make the day very long for Brett Hundley and the short passes of the Packers offense.

He’s also a great tackler, who continually sheds blocks on screens and in the run game to stop big plays from happening.

What’s your prediction for this game?

Carlson: It’s hard to see the Vikings losing this one. Green Bay is without their star quarterback, their defense is struggling, and the team banged up all over the place. None of these things will help against a red-hot Minnesota Vikings teams desperate for a win to ensure home field advantage throughout the Super Bowl. I expect Minnesota to win this one by 10 points, but for there to be some chippy players to heighten the drama of the game.

The Vikings are one of the best teams in football and firmly in Super Bowl contention. Will they lose again this season?

Carlson: I don’t see them getting beat by Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers or the Bears in Minnesota. However, there are some scary teams in the postseason that could be huge problems for Minnesota. The New Orleans Saints are one of the best teams in football and the team already lost to the Carolina Panthers once already. This is going to be a fun playoff season in the NFL, and just about anyone has a chance of winning this year.

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

A huge thank you to Adam Carlson for taking the time to talk to us. Check out The Viking Age for their great coverage of this week’s game.