Minnesota Vikings (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (6-8)
KICKOFF: Thursday, 8:00 ET
TV: NFL Network, Bryant Gumbel, Cris Collinsworth
Vikings: offense 14th (10th rush, 16th pass); defense 8th (1st rush, 29th pass).
Packers: offense 19th (15th rush, 9th pass); defense 21st (10th rush, 26th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME
There isn't much tape of QB Tarvaris Johnson for the Packers to study up on the Vikings' rookie who will make his first career start. He has a stronger arm and far more mobility than the deposed Brad Johnson, so the Vikings hope the big play that has been lacking from the offense becomes a threat again. But a primetime road game in Lambeau could well lead to several rookie mistakes as well.
There is also a big mismatch with rookie RT Ryan Cook working against NFC sack leader DE Aaron Kampman.
Offensively, the Packers likely won't give much more than a nod to the ground game, which won't go far against the Vikings' No. 1 run defense. This game falls on the arm of QB Brett Favre, who threw for 347 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first meeting. Expect the Packers to spread the field and test a thin Vikings secondary that could be without rookie starting CB Cedric Griffin.
Vikings: K Ryan Longwell is Green Bay's all-time leading scorer with 1,054 points from 1997-2005. ... Are 5-4 on Thursday nights.
Packers: RB Ahman Green needs 159 rushing yards to surpass Jim Taylor (8,207) as the franchise's all-time leading rusher. ... Favre is 14-14 against the Vikings, marking his most losses against any team.
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