5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers – Week 17
By Chris Schad
Kirk Cousins will shred the Packers’ secondary
There are reasons to believe that the Packers might get the best of Cousins in this matchup. Garrett Bradbury has missed the past two days of practice with a back injury, and with Kenny Clark’s historical dominance over the Vikings, it’s possible that there will be plenty of pressure in the middle of the offensive line.
But one area where the Vikings can take advantage of the Packers’ defense is in the secondary. We already talked about how Jefferson will be matched up against Alexander and Douglas, but the rest of the secondary could be on their own thanks to Green Bay’s high blitz rate.
According to Pro Football Reference, only the New York Giants (40.1 percent) have blitzed more this season than the Packers, who check in at 34.1 percent. When Cousins faced the Giants last week, he was blitzed on 27 of 52 (51.9 percent) dropbacks but posted a 111.6 passer rating when blitzed.
While Cousins’s 85.2 passer rating when blitzed this season ranks 34th among 39 quarterbacks, his rating has jumped to 91.4 since the Vikings traded for T.J. Hockenson in Week 9. The addition of Hockenson, who caught 13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns last week, has given Cousins another dynamic weapon in quick-game situations, which helps him keep the chains moving.
If the Packers continue to send extra attackers toward Cousins, it should result in a consistent effort for the Vikings’ offense.