4 keys to victory for the Vikings against the Packers
By Dean Jones
Stop the Green Bay pass-rush
The Minnesota Vikings have some talented offensive players who can make things happen. But this will count for nothing if Kirk Cousins doesn’t get enough time to go through his progressions.
His production is there for all to see when the Vikings’ offensive line leaves him with a clean pocket. What remains in question is the signal-caller making things happen under duress.
They are expected to be under significant pressure from a Green Bay Packers pass-rushing unit that is among the NFL’s best. The likes of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are relentless forces on the edge and they possess a rare ability to get into the backfield at will.
Another thing the Packers have going for them is a stout defensive front that is incredibly tough to move off the block. Their 3-4 base scheme was hugely successful in 2019 and this is something that the Vikings will need to cope with in order to secure victory.
This responsibility will fall squarely on the shoulders of Minnesota’s tackle tandem of Brian O’Neill and Riley Reiff. They will get help from elsewhere. But both will also be tasked with coping with the Smiths in one-on-one situations on occasion.
O’Neill emerged as one of the NFL’s brightest young protectors during the previous campaign after coming on considerably. Reiff is the most experienced member of the Vikings’ line and showed signs of life last season after going through his fair share of struggles in 2018.