The Minnesota Vikings enter Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football with their season essentially already in the bag. After losing last week’s game at home against the Los Angeles Rams, the Vikings have a 13% chance of making the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight. However, Minnesota has won two straight against the Packers, including last year’s win at Green Bay in Week 8. And if Minnesota wants to enter the final week of the regular season with playoff aspirations, a third-straight win against the Packers is required.
In order to pull off the upset, the Vikings’ defense will need to slow down back-to-back MVP frontrunner Aaron Rodgers and All-Pro receiver Davante Adams — which is easier said than done. Since Rodgers stepped foot into US Bank Stadium back in Week 11, no quarterback has played better throughout the NFL. Over the past five games, Rodgers has a passer rating of 125.3, 1,503 yards, 17 touchdowns (one rushing), and hasn’t turned the ball over. He leads the NFL with a 110.8 passer rating.
The defending MVP and Adams are currently operating as the NFL’s best quarterback-receiver duo. Already with 106 catches on the year, this is the third triple-digit reception campaign for Adams over the past four seasons. Adams is on the verge of setting a new single-season career-high in receiving yardage. The former Fresno State receiver needs only 25 yards against the Vikings to surpass his previous high of 1,386 yards, set back in 2018.
How fitting that Adams draws Minnesota as he sets a new benchmark for himself. After all, no team has suffered the wrath of the NFL’s best wide receiver on the planet more than the Vikings. Although he’s played two fewer games against Minnesota (14 games) than Chicago (16 games) over the course of his career, Adams has recorded more receptions (82) and touchdowns (12) against the Vikings than any other opponent in the league.
In fact, going back to Week 16 of 2016, Adams has recorded 100-plus receiving yards and/or a touchdown in nine consecutive games against Minnesota.
Adams’ domination against Mike Zimmer’s defense reached new heights once Packers head coach Matt LaFleur took over. Since 2019, Adams is averaging 12.2 targets, 9.6 receptions, 109.2 yards, and 1.4 touchdowns per game against the Vikings.
Make no mistake about it, Adams is far from the only Packers receiver who had sustained success against Zimmer’s secondary. Coincidentally enough, the Week 16 game at Green Bay in 2016 that started Adams’ 100-plus yards and/or touchdown streak was the same game where Vikings cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman reportedly “went rogue.” Minnesota’s two best corners at the time refused to cover Jordy Nelson, and he lit up the Vikings to the tune of nine receptions, 154 yards, and two touchdowns.
Even though Nelson recorded nine touchdowns across nine games against the Vikings from Week 10 of 2011 through 2016, Adams is unquestionably the receiver that has given Zimmer the most fits throughout his history.
While Rodgers has historically fared well at home in Green Bay late in the year, Paul Charchian pointed out Thursday that Rodgers was a far cry from his usual MVP self in the only single-digit temperature game of his career. Frigid temperatures are expected for the primetime affair on Sunday.
History hasn’t been too kind to Zimmer’s secondary against Rodgers’ most coveted weapon. But with the blistering-cold temperatures and Rodgers’ historical shortcomings in single-digit weather, maybe Mother Nature will be wearing purple for the NBC audience on Sunday night. Because if not, it could be yet another long night for the Vikings’ defense having to watch No. 17 in green reverse-slam-dunking on the goalposts after finding the end zone — possibly on multiple occasions.
If Minnesota can’t figure out a way to stop this nine-game streak of 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown from Adams, it will be difficult for the Vikings to walk out of Green Bay on Sunday night with any playoff hopes remaining.