6 min read

Matchups Week 1: Vikings vs. Packers

Jaire Alexander
Sep 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive back Jaire Alexander (23) intercepts the pass to Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers 

Spread: Vikings +1.5

Game Total: 47

Team Totals: Vikings (22.75), Packers (24.25)

Weather: Dome

The Line Report

  • The consensus line for this contest is Vikings +1.5, with no current alternative options at the national sportsbooks I routinely check.
  • This contest opened as Vikings +1.5.
  • This line has fluctuated between Vikings +1.5 and Vikings +2.5 this summer.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Vikings +1.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Vikings +1.5.
  • The current consensus total is 47 points.
  • This total opened between 48 and 49 points. The peak for this game total has been 49 points, while it’s gotten as low as 46.5 points.

Notable Injuries

Vikings: RB Alexander Mattison (Questionable), DE Jonathan Bullard (Questionable)

Packers: WR Allen Lazard (Questionable), TE Robert Tonyan (Questionable), OT David Bakhtiari (Questionable), G/T Elgton Jenkins (Questionable), S Darnell Savage (Questionable)

The Vikings Offense vs. the Packers Defense

New Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell will run a more pass centric offense than the previous regime. Minnesota enjoys strong, although sometimes inconsistent quarterback play from Kirk Cousins. The Vikings also have one of the more talented, complete skill groups in the league. Collectively, Minnesota’s offense has a lot of potential this season. Green Bay is one of the few defenses in the NFL that can reasonably matchup up with the Vikings assortment of weapons.

The Vikings average at best offensive line vs. the Packers high-end front four is an edge for Green Bay’s defense. Minnesota managed this disadvantage last year, allowing just two sacks in each of their matchups with the Packers.

Notes and Observations

  • The Vikings were 9-8 against the spread in 2021.
  • Minnesota was 11-6 on overs in 2021.
  • The Vikings were 2-6 against playoff teams last year, though five of those losses were one score games. The other came with Kirk Cousins sidelined in Green Bay.
  • Per The Edge, Justin Jefferson was third in the league in target share (29.1%) while leading the league in air yards (2,218) with 2.67 yards per route run.

Jefferson torched Green Bay for 8-169-2 on 10 targets during the Vikings 34-31 win in Minnesota last season.

  • Per The Edge, the Packers defense yielded the 10th fewest receptions and the 12th fewest yards to wide receivers last season.
  • Per The Edge, Green Bay surrendered the 6th fewest rushing yards to enemy running backs in 2021. 

The Packers Offense vs. Vikings Defense 

The Packers two best offensive linemen, LT David Bakhtiari and G/ T Elgton Jenkins, are both on the injury report. If one or both of them can’t go in this contest, the Vikings improved pass rush could be a real factor here. Green Bay offensive linemen missed a lot of time last season, which is something that makes Aaron Rodgers MVP campaign even more impressive. Rodgers’ play extending ability and quick release make him a great asset in managing any pass rush.

With the departure of Davante Adams, Green Bay’s offense may run more through its running back duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon this season. The Vikings allowed the 13th fewest receiving yards to running backs in 2021, but they also allowed the 8th most rushing yards. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Packers were 12-5 against the spread in 2021.
  • Green Bay was 8-9 on overs in 2021.
  • The Packers were 5-1 against playoff teams in 2021. That one loss came in Kansas City when Aaron Rodgers didn’t play.
  • Aaron Rodgers has won back-to-back MVPs, making it four for his career.
  • Per The Edge, the Vikings allowed the third most passing yards in 2021.
  • Per The Edge, the Vikings allowed the most yards to wide receivers in 2021.
  • After the departure of Davante Adams, Green Bay has one of the thinner wide receiver groups in the league.

This is What You’re Betting On in Vikings vs. Packers

A bet on the Vikings is built on a talented offense taking a step forward with their new head coach. In order for Minnesota to perform optimally against their division rivals, they will need to manage the Packers premium front. The Vikings own pass rush could be a factor in this matchup, especially if either of the Packers two best linemen miss this contest. Green Bay no longer has a dynamic wide receiver that can “beat up” Minnesota’s vulnerability against wide receivers. A bet on Minnesota becomes more attractive if some of the Packers injured starters don’t suit up.

A bet on the Packers starts as a bet on one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay enters this season with their most talented defense in years. A bet on the Packers can also be a bet on their ability to handle the Vikings' excellent skill group. Factor in Green Bay’s line play edge, and a bet on Green Bay could be one on their talented defense. If you’re going to bet on the Packers, be sure to check up on their injury report as we get closer to game time.

Vikings vs. Packers games of recent years have been an example of something that I refer to as a variable contest. That means this type of matchup has a wide range of outcomes, as there is a reasonable path to these teams shooting out while a more tight, defensive contest is similarly likely. Neither extreme outcome would be a major surprise in this matchup. In these types of situations, I tend to veer against public perception (when there is a reasonable path to doing so). It’s also worth noting that the game total here has actually moved down since it opened, despite public sentiment viewing this contest as a likely shootout.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: Consider this game a coin flip in winner pools, with the expectation that Green Bay will be slightly more popular. Whoever you take in this game, your confidence pool ranking should be closer to the bottom than the top.

Spread Pool: I’ll be waiting for Green Bay’s injury report to finalize before taking an ATS stance in this contest.

Survivor: Both of these options should be avoided in survivor this week.