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Green Bay Packers Opponent Preview: Minnesota Vikings, Week 1

The Green Bay Packers kick off week one against the Minnesota Vikings, their fiercest division rival. The Packers are 4-5-1 against the Vikings over the past five seasons (however, they're 4-2 in the Matt LaFleur era).

They've been a pain in the ass for the Green and Gold this entire millennium. Whether it was Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson years ago or Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson recently, they've always been a problem. Don't get me started on Ryan Longwell, Greg Jennings, Brett Favre, or Vikings legend Darren Sharper and their poaching tendencies. It's like the Vikings try to become the Packers through osmosis. And yet, they still come up short.

Minnesota Vikings Season Preview

Don't look now Packers fans, but I think Minnesota had a successful offseason, and the media is sleeping on them. Another Sean McVay alumni will join the NFC North, with Kevin O'Connell taking the reins from Mike Zimmer. This will be especially favorable for Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and their fantasy owners.

That's not why I'm high on the Vikings, though. We already knew their offense could put up numbers, even with Zimmer handcuffing the offense. Minnesota secretly had one of the worst secondaries in the league, they fixed that by drafting two of the best defensive backs on the board; safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. It was a solid draft on paper for new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

In saying all that, they still didn't address their ultimate need! The Viking's offensive line is atrocious (25th in ESPN's Pass Block Win-Rate). I've written elsewhere that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback (yuck), but he's not mobile enough to overcome a bad o-line. They drafted LSU guard Ed Ingram in the 2nd round; expect to see him starting early due to the disaster that is Minnesota's interior o-line. For some reason, the Vikings are allergic to adding pass blockers.

If Dalvin Cook stays healthy, he could be a beast in this offense. The Shanahan/McVay offense is excellent for running backs; Cook could feast on the ground and through the air if the o-line can hold up their end of the bargain.

How do the Vikings Match Up Against the Packers?

It will be one hell of a chess match between these two in the NFC North. The Vikings receivers are great; Green Bay might have the best secondary in the league. The Packers receivers are shit; Minnesota's secondary left a lot to be desired. Last season the Vikings were near the top of the NFL in sacks; Green Bay consistently has one of the best offensive lines in the league.

Even after overhauling its front office and coaching staff, a tiger can't change its stripes. The Vikings were up to their old tricks, throwing a bag of money at Za'Darius Smith to bring him over to Minnesota. While he will bolster their already blistering pass rush, it won't be enough to boost them from second place.

It will be intriguing to see an even richer Kirk Cousins operating with a coach that cares about offense, but I don't think that will be enough to overcome their offensive line in year one. Expect to be surprised by the Viking's success, but ultimately not a playoff threat... yet.