In the midst of the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger scandal, I thought it might be nice to talk about some Minnesota Vikings football this week, including Randy Moss's rear end returning to Lambeau field and the ex-Green Bay Packers QB that Packers fans love to hate coming back home to visit.
We're only two days away from the biggest game of the week, and it wouldn't be fair to not give it the attention a game of this magnitude deserves.
The Packers are currently second place in the division at 3-3, a mere one half game up on the Vikings in the NFC North. The first place Chicago Bears are who we thought they were, and since beginning the season 3-0 have gone 1-2, leading the division by only one game. The Bears play the Redskins this week, and if they lose that game, the winner in the Lambeau lion's den in week seven will be in the driver's seat to make a playoff run.
It seems like a lifetime has gone by since the days when Brett Favre was the most beloved figure in the small football town of Green Bay, Wisconson, but it was only three years ago that Favre donned a Packers uniform while playing for the NFC championship. Favre is the most decorated passer in NFL history and will one day go into the football Hall of Fame as a beloved Packer once again, but for now he's the enemy in purple.
Vikings' WR Randy Moss, on the other hand, has never been liked much in Green Bay. In Moss's first stint in Minnesota, he repeatedly torched the Packers on Sundays, Mondays, and even on Saturdays in January.
In Moss's last game as a Viking visiting Lambeau field, Moss's Vikings won a Wild Card game against the Packers that Moss capped off by mooning Packers fans after torching them one last time for a 34-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter.
The VIkings may just be hitting their stride now after a hard fought victory against the Dallas Cowboys in week six. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is averaging 131.2 yards from scrimmage per game, and Favre is coming off of his most efficient outing of the young season. Randy Moss has had three full weeks with the team to work himself into the offense, and he has already embraced the role of a team leader.
The Vikings go into Green Bay this week to take on a Packers organization that is doing well to just field a team right now. The Packers have been maligned with injuries this season, losing RB Ryan Grant for the year in week one and having at least one starter go down with an injury in every game since.
The Packers have lost offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, wide receivers, their starting TE Jermichael FInley is out for the year, and even starting QB Aaron Rodgers has had a mild concussion this year. Their most recent injury report lists five starters as questionable, including LB A.J. Hawk, WR Donald Driver, CB Charles Woodson and S Al Harris.
The Packers are 18th in the league against the pass (1,293 yards allowed) and 22nd against the run (674 yards allowed.) They're coming off of an overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins that they really couldn't afford, while the Vikings are riding the high of a victory that they desperately needed.
The Vikings have rushed for 621 yards in five games, and they have one of the biggest passing deep threats in the entire NFL with Favre now throwing to Moss. On top of that, both Favre and Moss have a long history of rising to certain occasions, such as playing against former backups in the case of Favre and playing against former teams in the case of Moss.
Both of these players have a knack for showing up on the prime time stage, While Packers starting QB Aaron Rodgers has been less than dependable in big games. Despite blossoming into one of the leagues best passers, Rodgers has yet to win a playoff game and has a terrible record in overtime. He isn't getting much help from his offensive line this season, either. Rodgers has already been sacked 14 times this season.
The Vikings pass rush has yet to really get going, and this could be just the game for them to get it together. Aaron Rodgers is going to have his work cut out for him this week, since everyone now knows that the Packers have absolutely no running game. In fact, the team has all but given up on the run. The Packers are ranked 28th in the league in rushing attempts (134.)
On the other side of the ball, the VIkings' defense is ranked seventh against the run, seventh against the pass, seventh in points allowed, and sixth overall—and they've already had a bye. Every stat in this matchup tells a tale of victorious Vikings. It's going to be a hostile environment, but if the Vikings can get off to a good start, the fans will have much to cheer about.
In what has been referred to as the black and blue division, the Packers are certainly bruised up, and it's starting to show. The injuries are causing the Packers defense to commit untimely penalties to compensate for their lack of talent. The Packers seem to be sloping down, while the Vikings' stock is beginning to rise.
By all accounts of logic, the Vikings should win this game easily. I realize that nothing is "easy" in the NFL, but as far as rival games go, this is one that shouldn't be quite as tooth-and-nail as some. The Packers keep losing players, while the Vikings keep gaining them.
Any good preview has to include a prediction, and this one is no exception: Vikings 31, Packers 17. I look for Moss to have 90 yards and at least one TD, Peterson to rush for more than 100 yards with at least one TD, and Favre to throw for 280 and at least two TD passes. When the moon creeps over Lambeau field on Sunday night, and the lights come on in this storied stadium, both may be outshined by the Vikings' stars lighting up the Packers on the field.