Why Packers must run the ball vs. Vikings in Week 1

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, AJ Dillon (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, AJ Dillon (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers must run the ball frequently in Week 1 versus the Minnesota Vikings. Here’s why.

The Green Bay Packers enter the season opener potentially without their number one wide receiver and two starting tackles.

Receiver Allen Lazard is doubtful for Week 1, and tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are questionable, per the Packers’ injury report.

With a daunting matchup against pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter to come on Sunday, it’s easy to see why there could be some concern.

But never fear. There’s a solution, and it comes from the Packers’ incredible running back duo.

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 2,306 total yards and 17 touchdowns last season. They give the Packers an unstoppable thunder-and-lightning combination in the backfield.

The Vikings had the seventh-worst run defense in the league last season. There’s little doubt that the strength of their defense is their pass rush.

If Aaron Rodgers is constantly dropping back to pass, Smith and Hunter could dominate. They are too talented not to make an impact.

What’s the best way to slow down a dominant pass rush? Run at them.

Run the ball directly at the Vikings’ top pass rushers. At the very least, it will force them to respect the run game, which could slow their pass rush slightly. It also opens the play-action game.

Finding success on the ground is also the perfect way to quieten down the crowd. Watching the Packers slowly move the chains and sustain drives will achieve that.

Outside of Randall Cobb and Robert Tonyan, Rodgers doesn’t have much experience with his new-look receiving corps. All the more reason to run the ball.

By committing to the ground game, the Packers can hurt the Vikings on play-action later on. Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs will test the Vikings’ cornerbacks with their speed, and play-action may be the best way to hit some huge plays downfield.

When in doubt, run the ball. That’s the Packers’ key to success versus the Vikings in Week 1.