The “Setting The Table For [opponent's name]” blog entry typically sets up the Vikings upcoming matchup by breaking down a bunch of important statistics and trends related to said opponent. We typically break down both the offense and defense and we even talk about special teams angles.
That’s not how it’s going to be this week, though. As I mentioned to Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen today during his 9-noon show on KFAN, which is being broadcast as part of Winter Park Wednesday right here at Sports Authority Studios, analyzing this game is not about trends, statistics and personnel matchups.
Rather, this week is about the Vikings backs being up against the wall and needing to bite, crawl and scratch their way to a victory against a division rival at Mall of America Field. The Vikings are 17-3 at home in their last 20 games and they’ve won 3 of the last 4 contests against Green Bay. A victory this weekend is crucial for the Vikings to keep hope alive for the 2010 season and I’m confident the squad will put its best foot forward.
Keep in mind, Green Bay is 6-3 this season and they’re playing well despite tons of injuries to key players. Head coach Mike McCarthy has guided his team to 13 wins in the last 17 regular season games – they went 7-1 in their last 8 games last year to earn a Wild Card berth in the playoffs. So Green Bay comes in hot this weekend and the Vikings have an opportunity to cool them down and start to get back in the NFC North race.
A key for the Vikings this week will be the injury report. Here’s who I’ll have my eye on and why…
WR Percy Harvin – He leads the NFL in all-purpose yards with 1,443 and he leads the Vikings in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs.
CB Asher Allen, S Eric Frampton and S Jamarca Sanford – These guys are affiliated with the defense, but their more important roles may be on special teams. All 3 players are core special teamers and all 3 could be on this week’s injury report.
WR Sidney Rice – Even if he plays, I’m unsure of what his impact will be in his first game back. But, there’s a chance it’s a great impact and there’s no doubt he would command respect from the Green Bay defense.
WR Bernard Berrian – Speedy WR had a great game the last time he played (against Arizona). If Rice doesn’t go, his inclusion in the lineup is important. We saw how the pass offense looked last week with no Berrian or Rice.
C John Sullivan – Last but not least is Sullivan. There’s no question to me that the offensive line is at its best when Sullivan is in the lineup, and the Vikings lost him early last week. Jon Cooper played well in Sullivan’s place, but it’s nice to have the starter in the middle.
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