Vik­ings deal­ing with in­juries too

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - SPORTS - AARON NAGLER

The low­down on the Green Bay Pack­ers’ next op­po­nent from a beat writer who cov­ers that team.

The Green Bay Pack­ers head to Min­neapo­lis to take on the Vik­ings this Sun­day and both teams are deal­ing with nu­mer­ous in­juries as they for­mu­late their game plans.

The Vik­ings are deal­ing with an in­jury at the game’s most im­por­tant po­si­tion while the Pack­ers are deal­ing with in­juries, well, pretty much ev­ery­where

To get a bet­ter feel for what kind of team the Pack­ers will be fac­ing on Sun­day af­ter­noon, we spoke with Chris To­mas­son who cov­ers the team for the St. Paul Pi­o­neer Press. You can find more of the con­ver­sa­tion in a video on JSOn­line.

1. With the un­cer­tainty at quar­ter­back, how do the Vik­ings pre­pare their of­fen­sive game plan? Are there things they do with Sam Brad­ford they can’t do with Case Keenum? Or is the en­tire play­book still open to them?

I would be sur­prised if an ail­ing Sam Brad­ford plays Sun­day. With that in mind, Case Keenum would get his fourth start at quar­ter­back and play in his fifth straight game. Keenum is more mo­bile than Brad­ford, and that will help him elude the pass rush. He doesn’t have Brad­ford’s pass­ing ac­cu­racy, but the Vik­ings won’t hes­i­tate in hav­ing Keenum throw short balls in the hope of mov­ing down the field and at the very least im­prov­ing field po­si­tion.

2. With the loss of Dalvin Cook for the sea­son, how has the run­ning back po­si­tion shaken out so far?

Latavius Mur­ray has re­placed Dalvin Cook as the start­ing run­ning back and needs to be more ex­plo­sive. He car­ried 12 times for just 31 yards in the 20-17 win at Chicago. Backup run­ning back Jer­ick McKin­non stole the show against the Bears by car­ry­ing 16 times for 95 yards, but 58 came on a touch­down run. The Vik­ings can’t count on McKin­non do­ing that again but they need Mur­ray to at least some­what re­turn to his Pro Bowl form of 2015 with Oakland.

3. Last year, the Vik­ings’ de­fense re­ally car­ried them through much of the sea­son. Is that still the strength of this team?

Af­ter some ups and downs early in the sea­son, the Vik­ings are be­gin­ning to re­turn to form on de­fense. They’re be­gin­ning to come up with timely turnovers. There’s a re­al­iza­tion that with Brad­ford hurt and Cook out for the sea­son, the de­fense is go­ing to have to win some games. That was the case against the Bears. The Vik­ings got a field goal in the sec­ond quar­ter af­ter forc­ing a fum­ble and a game-win­ning field goal in the wan­ing sec­onds fol­low­ing a Har­ri­son Smith in­ter­cep­tion.


Vik­ings tight end Kyle Ru­dolph catches a touch­down pass de­spite the ef­forts Green Bay Pack­ers strong safety Mor­gan Burnett last sea­son.

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