Packers: Stopping the run key to success vs. Vikings in Week 16

Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers need to stop the run to have a chance of getting their first victory against the Minnesota Vikings on the road in four years.

Minnesota’s offense is built to run the football. Whether or not Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are available in Monday’s game, Green Bay’s number one priority on defense should be to stop the run.

A lot of the discussions leading up to this game will be about Kirk Cousins‘ good season, and the receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, especially if Cook misses the game. But the Vikings’ identity is still to run the football first, setting up the pass. The Packers need to take that away.

The Vikings have almost a 50-50 split between running the ball and throwing it, according to The Football Database. They run the ball more than any other NFC team.

Cook and Mattison have been among the best running back duos in the NFL this season. Cook is the featured back and has been dominant this year. Cook and Mattison have combined for 1,597 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Cook has over 1,000 yards and 13 TDs.

If they both miss the game, Mike Boone will likely be the featured back.

Boone made the most of his opportunity last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, rushing 13 times for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Ameer Abdullah also had five carries for 25 yards.

Why is stopping the run so important against the Vikings?

They’ve lost four games this season. In three, they were held under 100 yards rushing as a team.

In a 16-6 loss to the Bears, the Vikings had just 40 yards rushing. In a 26-23 loss to the Chiefs, they rushed for only 96 yards. In a 37-30 loss to the Seahawks, they had 78 yards on the ground, and that included a 27-yard run from Stefon Diggs. The running backs combined for just 51 yards.

The only game the Vikings lost but rushed for over 100 yards this season was against the Packers in Week 2. But even then, the performance on the ground looked a lot better because of Cook’s 75-yard touchdown. Without that, the Vikings’ running backs rushed for 106 yards.

The key is stopping the run. If the Packers can do that, they’ll have a great chance of getting the victory in primetime.