Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers: 5 Keys to the Game for Green Bay

Matt SmithContributor IIINovember 30, 2012

Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers: 5 Keys to the Game for Green Bay

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    After five straight wins, the Green Bay Packers rode confidently into their matchup with the reeling New York Giants, who were coming off a much-needed bye week.

    The result was a 38-10 beat-down that was basically over at halftime.

    Luckily for the Packers, they now go back home to Lambeau where they'll take on the Minnesota Vikings in a crucial division matchup.

    This will be the first game of the season between the Packers and Vikings, who will face each other again in Week 15 at Minnesota.

    Though they should be favored, there are a couple of things that the Packers will need to do if they want to secure the victory and inch closer to a playoff berth.

Stop Adrian Peterson and the Run Game

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    The Vikings are third in the league in rushing. They're 30th in the league in passing.

    Last week against the Bears, they averaged 5.7 yards per rush. They only managed 3.7 yards per attempt without Percy Harvin, who missed Thursday's practice and is looking like a long shot to play on Sunday.

    In order to stop the Vikings' offense, the Packers need to focus on shutting down the freak of nature the Vikings deploy at running back, Adrian Peterson.

    If they can shut AP down early and force the Vikings to pass, the Packers' chances of winning increase exponentially.

Establish Some Semblance of a Rushing Attack

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    It looks like the Packers are going to have to stick with James Starks and Alex Green for the rest of the year, which isn't good news for Packers fans.

    They've both been below average at best this season, but the offensive line does deserve some of the blame.

    In order to open up the passing game, Green Bay's going to need to establish the run game early.

    As for next year's draft, someone like UNC's Giovani Bernard makes a lot of sense.

Cover Kyle Rudolph in the End Zone

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    At 6'6" 258 pounds with big, strong hands and solid leaping ability, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph is exactly what you want in a red-zone target.

    Unsurprisingly, that's exactly what he is. All seven of Rudolph's touchdown receptions have come in the red zone, with five of those seven coming inside the opponent's 10-yard line.

    Without Harvin, the Vikings pretty much have two options: run the ball or toss it up to Rudolph.

    The Packers have got to make sure they double-team Rudolph in the red zone and put at least one big body on him at all times.

Keep Aaron Rodgers Upright

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    After getting dismantled by the Giants in Week 12, the Packers' offensive line will look to get back on track against a solid Vikings front.

    How they'll approach the game will be interesting.

    The Packers seem to want to mask T.J. Lang after he moved from LG to RT, which was an interesting choice considering he had to switch both position and side.

    However, chances are LT Marshall Newhouse will need help with Jared Allen on the opposite side.

    The Packers have got to find a way to account for both needs, and Aaron Rodgers will need to get rid of the ball sooner if they can't adjust.

Better Decision-Making from the Coaches

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    The first decision McCarthy needs to make is to shave his mustache. As long as we're on that, Rodgers should do the same..

    Against the Giants, McCarthy made some pretty questionable choices.

    The first big mistake he made was to let a kicker who's low on confidence attempt a 55-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-5.

    The result was a missed field goal and a shorter field for the Giants, who marched in easily for the score.

    The second bad decision came on 4th-and-1 from the Giants' 11-yard line. Down by 17 points on the road, McCarthy decided to kick a field goal instead of going for the first down.

    He played it too safe there.

    The coaching staff made multiple bad choices against the Giants and are going to have to take more calculated risks against the Vikings.