The Duel

3 Keys to the Vikings Beating the Packers on Monday Night Football

Tristan Jung
Kirk Cousins prepares to throw a pass in a game against the Chargers.
Kirk Cousins prepares to throw a pass in a game against the Chargers. / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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Two of the NFC's best teams will square off in a marquee "Monday Night Football" matchup as the Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings.

The latest edition of the heated NFC North rivalry also has playoff implications. The Packers would clinch the division with a win, while the Vikings could clinch a playoff spot and force the division title to a Week 17 decider. The Vikings can clinch a wild card spot in Week 16 with either a win or a Rams loss. The Packers are also looking to secure home-field advantage during the playoffs.

With so much at stake for both teams, here are the Vikings' keys to victory to win Monday's game.

1. Maintaining the Running Game without Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook runs the ball in a game against the Lions.
Dalvin Cook runs the ball in a game against the Lions. / Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Minnesota's workhorse back left last week's game with a shoulder injury and is in serious doubt for Week 16. Cook had been averaging 19.5 carries per game before first getting banged up in Week 13, and his absence creates a big void in the offense. Backup Alexander Mattison also missed last week's game, which means that Mike Boone is likely to handle lead back duties this week. The Vikings rank fourth in total rushing yards this season and will need to free up lanes for Boone to keep their offense moving. Boone had 56 yards and two TDs last week against the Chargers, and the Vikings will need a similar performance from him in Week 16.

2. Winning the Turnover Battle

Harrison Smith intercepts a pass against the Lions.
Harrison Smith intercepts a pass against the Lions. / Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In the first meeting between these teams in Week 2, Minnesota suffered a frustrating 21-16 loss to the Packers. The Vikings gained 421 yards to the Packers' 335 in their first meeting, but the Vikes turned the ball over four times (compared to two for the Pack). The team with fewer turnovers has now won six of the last eight meetings between those two squads. Aaron Rodgers has only thrown two interceptions on the season, and if the Vikes want to win the turnover battle they're going to have to really limit their mistakes on offense.

3. Kirk Cousins Must Rise to the Occasion

Kirk Cousins drops back to pass in a game against the Chargers.
Kirk Cousins drops back to pass in a game against the Chargers. / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Pundits had nothing but criticism for Kirk Cousins after the Vikings lost to the Packers in Week 2. The Packers did not score in the second half, but the Vikings were unable to come back, largely due to Cousins' ineffectiveness. He threw an ugly fourth-quarter interception, leaving many questioning the decision to give him an $84 million contract. Since that loss, Cousins has silenced his doubters by throwing 24 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. Even accounting for a pedestrian 98-yard day in Week 1, Cousins is on pace for career-high marks in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating. With Dalvin Cook out, the Vikings need Cousins to continue his strong run of form and to turn in a big game against the Pack.


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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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