10 Reasons the Vikings Might Beat Green Bay
As Minnesota Vikings fans we are conditioned to not only expect the worst but to expect the excruciating. It is with this in mind that we will tune into Saturday night's wild card game with Green Bay. For years Minnesota has found new cruel and unusual ways to tear its fans hearts out. Why should this year be any different? Still, there's something else. This weekend we can't find one so-called football expert who's picking the Vikings to win. Not one. You can't tell me that they have no chance at all. With that in mind, here are 10 reasons the Vikings might--just might--beat the Packers.
1. Nobody believes in us. As Bill Simmons so often likes to point out, there is perhaps no greater unifying element in sports than a team whose players believe that no one thinks they can win. And, as we stated above, no one thinks the Vikings can win, despite the fact that they beat the Pack last week and played them very close a few weeks back. Place that chip squarely on your shoulders Minnesota.
2. Adrian Peterson. The guy is the best player in football. He's run for over 400 yards and something like a 7.5-yard average in two games against Green Bay. That is insane. Any team with Adrian Peterson on it is always going to have a puncher's chance.
3. The weather. It's supposed to be cold in Green Bay, and no surprise there. But what if it's cold and windy? What if it's cold and windy and snowy? What if the conditions are such that it's difficult to pass the football. If this game comes down to running the football, advantage Minnesota.
4. Defensive line. The Vikings sacked Aaron Rodgers five times last week. If they can get anything like that kind of pressure on him again, it will help make up for deficiencies in the secondary. It's not near as easy for the guy to beat you when he's on the seat of his pants.
5. Blair Walsh is better than Mason Crosby. If this one comes down to kicks, the Vikings have a big advantage. Mason Crosby has made some big kicks in his career but this year has been a nightmare for him. On the other side, Blair Walsh has had an absolutely amazing year, setting the single-season record for field goals of 50 yards and over. Again, the Vikes have a leg up here.
6. Injuries. Both teams are pretty banged up on both sides of the ball. In fact, it would appear that Minnesota has the worst of it with Percy Harvin done for the year and sure-tackling cornerback Antoine Winfield questionable with a broken hand. But Green Bay has some questions too. Charles Woodson is back, but what if he's rusty? Jordy Nelson appears healthy but Packers fans hold their collective breath every time he gets up after a hit. We aren't pulling for any injuries but, as always, one or two key guys could swing a game either way.
7. Christian Ponder? Did We just say Christian Ponder? Yeah, kinda. Yes, he's been fairly awful for a good portion of the season but considerably less so that past few weeks. No one is asking Ponder to put the team on his back, but if he can avoid costly turnovers and move the chains every once in a while that just might be enough.
8. They're hot. The past few years it seems that teams who ended the season on a hot streak usually made a fairly deep push into the playoffs. The Vikes ended with a four-game winning streak against Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, and Green Bay. That's not just hot, that's Kate Upton hot.
9. Leslie Frazier. Mike McCarthy is a great coach who has won a Super Bowl, so we are making no comparisons here. Leslie Frazier has somehow managed to remove the stench of Mike Tice and Brad Childress in a single season, and that's a feat. His quiet leadership is reminiscent of Bud Grant, a guy who won more than a few cold weather games in his time. Just sayin'.
10. An act of God. The Vikings have certainly been on the receiving end of their share of miracles and quirky plays in their histoty. It's time the fates balanced the scales a bit. We'll take whatever we can get.
There you have it. We're not overly optimistic, but we also haven't given up the ship. Go Vikings!