Typically the headlines on a Wednesday of Packers Week – the Minnesota equivalent to “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel – have to do with how to attack a team that is your bitterest rival. The Hatfield to your McCoy.
The only headline being screamed out throughout the country as it pertains to the Vikings has nothing to do with the players who will be on the field. It’s the one who is not.
Perhaps the ongoing Adrian Peterson issue will take the fans’ minds of what the Vikings are facing Sunday.
TCF Bank Stadium is their home. But when Sunday rolls around and the temperature is hovering somewhere in the 30s (if you believe seven-day weather forecasts), it won’t be the customary home game for the Vikings. It will, however, feel like a home game for the Packers, which is a bad thing going up against Aaron Rodgers.
It’s bad enough that cold weather won’t feel like home for the veteran Vikings players but it will to the visiting Packers. What’s worse is that Minnesota has served as Rodgers’ home away from home over the last four years.
The one thing Brett Favre never seemed to master was having good games on the road at Minnesota. Some of the worst games of his career came at the Metrodome. Rodgers? Not so much.
In his last road games at Minnesota, Rodgers has completed 98 of 130 passes (75 percent) for 1,286 yards and 13 touchdowns. His production has been off the charts. In 2010, he completed 22 of 31 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns. In 2011, he completed 24 of 30 passes for 335 yards and three TDs. In 2012, he completed 28 of 40 passes for 365 yards and four TDs. Last year, he completed 24 of 29 passes for 295 yards and two TDs.
As good as Rodgers has been over the past few years, there are those who are saying that he is playing the best football of his career this season. Through 10 games, Rodgers has completed 209 of 313 passes for 2,748 yards with 28 touchdowns and just three interceptions with a passer rating of 120.1. Those are MVP numbers, much less the last two games – where the Packers have scored more than 100 points and Rodgers has thrown for 656 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
When the Vikings announced they were playing two years at TCF Bank Stadium, many believed that it could create a short-term home field advantage, forcing other teams to deal with the cold Minnesota weather. The only problem is that the Vikings don’t have much experience playing outdoors in the cold in November and December. That’s what Green Bay does every year, not the Vikings.
Sunday is going to be the first true test of the Vikings’ cold-weather conditions in front of the home fans. They’ve been playing at The Bank since August, but there hasn’t been a game yet in which the gales of November will be remembered.
Every veteran Packers player is used to the conditions that they’re going to be facing when they take the field Sunday, likely with a significant Packers contingent in the crowd. Nobody exemplifies that more than Rodgers.
For a Vikings team trying to carve out its own identity, the proverbial home-field advantage simply doesn’t exist as it pertains to the Packers. They’re used to playing in unsavory elements. For the Vikings, it has been an occasional thing that has rarely gone well.
With Green Bay looking like a team that is going to be very difficult for anybody in the NFC to beat, coming into a game in which Rodgers and his teammates are going to feel more at home than the home team will, it could end up being a long day for the Vikings.
Sunday’s game likely won’t end up defining either team, regardless of the outcome. But if the Vikings were looking to build a home-field advantage at The Bank, the Packers are the absolute worst team to try to start building that mental edge against. They’re used to it. The Vikings aren’t.
The Packers are double-digit favorites Sunday and, if you look at the history of both teams, that makes perfect sense. This isn’t Vikings weather the teams are going to be playing in Sunday. It’s Packers weather, and their sideline could feel more comfortable than the Vikings on their own sideline.
It’s Packers week, and Packers weather
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