3 players who must step up for the Packers in Week 17

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It's a must-win game for the Green Bay Packers entering their Week 17 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

Win, and their playoff hopes are still alive. Lose, and reaching that Wild Card spot starts to feel impossible. It won't be easy, though, because the Vikings are playing for the same scenario after the Detroit Lions clinched the NFC North in Week 16.

It's been a revolving door at quarterback in Minnesota since Kirk Cousins went down for the season due to an Achilles injury. However, that doesn't mean much after seeing what opposing QBs can do to Green Bay's passing defense. With Jordan Love and the offense as a unit showing massive improvement late into the season, it's a game that could fall to the defense to win or lose.

If the Packers want to keep their playoff dreams alive, it will take more than just a few lucky plays. They need everyone to step up and play at a high level. Here are three players the Packers need to see the most from.

Packers need these players to make an impact vs. Vikings

1. Carrington Valentine

It's a next-man-up mentality in the defensive back room after Green Bay decided to suspend cornerback Jaire Alexander for one week due to pre-game antics in their matchup against the Carolina Panthers. That next man up is Carrington Valentine.

He's someone Packers fans should be used to seeing by now, as he's already recorded 598 defensive snaps this season. In his time filling in for the injured Alexander and Eric Stokes, he's shown he can hang with some of the top receivers. His best game came in Week 10 against the Los Angeles Rams, where he was targeted seven times and allowed zero completions.

The Vikings will be his biggest challenge, as he will almost certainly see snaps against Justin Jefferson. Jefferson was injured the last time these two teams met, but based on the recent defensive performances, they will see a heavy dose of targets to him. Even with the Vikings switching QBs almost weekly, they're 16th in passing yards, having shown no plan to abandon the air game.

2. Rasheed Walker

Walker has solidified himself as the starting left tackle on the offensive line. He had some troubles at the beginning of the year when it came to drawing penalties, but he has significantly improved. Since the start of November, he's been flagged just twice for a holding and false start.

Vikings outside linebacker Danielle Hunter has been on an absolute tear this season, meaning Walker might have his hands full. Hunter has already hit career-bests in sacks, tackles, tackles for loss and tied for QB pressures at 38. He could line up a good amount against Walker.

Jordan Love should look comfortable in the pocket if Walker can contain his man on the pass rush.

3. Rashan Gary

With the Vikings starting rookie fifth-round pick this week, the Packers have another chance of getting burned by a quarterback without much experience. One way to disrupt and stress out a young QB is to get pressure. The Packers' best chance is with Rashan Gary.

Gary recently signed a four-year, $107 million contract extension after proving he can be one of the league's top pass rushers. Unfortunately, he is very hot and cold. When he's great, he completely takes over a game. We've seen it twice this year in Weeks 3 and 12, with Gary having three sacks in each contest. Besides that, though, he has just three sacks in the other 13 games.

If you spend that kind of money on a pass rusher, you would hope for more consistent results. Minnesota has a great pair of offensive tackles in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O'Neill, so it's not an easy battle. Especially with a thin secondary, the Packers pass rush must control the game.

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