On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will try to put the final nail in the coffin of the 2010 Minnesota Vikings, something that won’t come easy.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome has been a house of horrors for the green and gold in recent years. From Mason Crosby missing a game-winning field goal to blowing a 17-0 lead ending with Paul Edinger making a 56-yard field goal, the toughest place to earn a victory each year has always been in Minneapolis.
Aaron Rodgers is 0-2 in his two starts in Minnesota and if the Packers are to leave the Twin Cities with another big road win, he will need a better performance than the one he had three weeks ago against the Vikings at Lambeau Field.
In week 7, Green Bay won 28-24, but Rodgers was subpar at best. He finished 21 of 34 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, both on drives that were inside the Vikings’ 30-yard line, taking possible points off the board.
In that game, the Packers had a chance to add to their lead late in the fourth quarter, but that drive ended on an errant back shoulder throw from Rodgers to intended receiver Jordy Nelson, one of several throughout that Sunday night game.
Rodgers and his receivers were on the same page two weeks ago against the Cowboys, but let’s face it, that’s the Cowboys. Facing the Vikings defense on turf in the dome will be a much tougher test on Sunday.
Donald Driver might be back for this week’s game, but having a pair of 6-foot-3 receivers in Nelson and James Jones playing more was a big reason the Packers offense was a season-best 10 for 15 on 3rd downs against Dallas.
The Packers have struggled to convert on 3rd downs since losing its top receiving threat, tight end Jermichael Finley, so Nelson and Jones need to be big factors in the offense if Green Bay is to get its first win in Minnesota since 2007.
The Packers do have six wins in the dome since 1997, but none of the five since the turn of the century has come comfortably. All five of the wins came by a touchdown or less and Sunday shouldn’t be any different.
Six of Green Bay’s nine games so far this season have been decided by seven points or less, including all three losses being on game-losing field goals.
So back to Rodgers, he hasn’t been sharp in any game in the fourth quarter and has engineered just three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter all season.
Is this the moment where he rises up and has that signature performance late in a big game? In the final face-off between his former mentor Brett Favre, this would be the perfect time.
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Written by Mitch McLaughlin