Over the past 14 years, the NFC North title has belonged to either the Green Bay Packers or Minnesota Vikings 12 times, the Packers winning the division eight times in that span, the Vikings four times.
The Vikings have only defeated the Packers on one occasion since Matt LaFleur replaced Mike McCarthy as head coach in Green Bay, but Minnesota did win the most recent meeting of these two teams.
As Mike Zimmer’s team aims to make it back into the postseason, what should the Packers expect from the Vikings in 2021?
Entering the season as NFC North contenders, it was a major surprise to see the Vikings slip to a 1-5 start. It would take a monumental effort to make it to the playoffs from there, but it looked possible with Zimmer’s team winning five of their next six games.
However, it proved too much of a mountain to climb as three December defeats left the Vikings with a losing record and watching the playoffs from home.
When are the games?
We’ll have to wait until Week 11 for the first meeting of the season between Green Bay and Minnesota. This one is on the road and takes place on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 12 noon CT.
The two teams then meet again at Lambeau Field in Week 17 on Sunday, Jan. 2 at 7:20 p.m. CT. Maybe this will be an NFC North decider.
Until last season, Zimmer’s defense had been consistently one of the best units in the league. Understandably, the Vikings wanted to strengthen this side of the ball in the offseason.
They drafted linebacker Chazz Surratt and defensive end Patrick Jones II but focused mostly on offense early on, including drafting quarterback Kellen Mond in the third round.
In free agency, Minnesota signed cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, but not bringing back safety Anthony Harris is a big loss for this defense.
Last meeting with Packers
November 1, 2020: Vikings won 28-22 at Lambeau Field
Player to watch
Patrick Peterson: Peterson has made the Pro Bowl eight times but struggled for the Arizona Cardinals at times last season. He’ll be tested up against All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. Can Peterson get back to his Pro Bowl-best or will he struggle against the Packers’ star receiver?