The Vikings will have to be careful to not give away points when their offense is on the field against Green Bay's opportunistic defense.
The Vikings' biggest concern heading into today's game with the Packers might be facing an opportunistic Green Bay defense that has made a habit of scoring points when their offense is on the sidelines.
Green Bay has just five rushing touchdowns, which is one less than has been scored by their defense and special teams. The Packers are tied with Tennessee for the league lead with 13 interceptions and a whopping five of those have been returned for touchdowns – two each by cornerbacks Charles Woodson
and Nick Collins
and one by safety Aaron Rouse
. The Packers also have a punt return for a touchdown, which the Vikings remember well – since it came in Week 1 against Minnesota on a 76-yard return by Will Blackmon
The Vikings defense will have plenty of concerns in its attempt to shut down the Packers offense. But, in the end, they may have to be just as concerned about giving up points when their defense is on the sidelines.
VIKINGS-PACKERS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings enter today's game with the 13th-ranked offense (6th rushing, 17th passing) and the 11th-ranked defense (2nd rushing, 23rd passing).
The Packers have the 14th-ranked offense (21st rushing, 9th passing) and the 20th-ranked defense (27th rushing, 5th passing).
The Vikings are 10th in the league in average gain per rushing attempt, while the Packers are ranked 23rd.
Aaron Rodgers has thrown just five interceptions, helping the Packers rank fifth in interception percentage. The Vikings rank 28th in that category.
The Packers offense is eighth in converting third downs, while the Vikings are 26th. The league average on third-down conversions is 39.7 percent. Green Bay has made good on 44.1 percent of third downs, while the Vikings have managed to convert on just 34.2 percent of their chances.
The Packers have struggled when they need to convert on fourth down. Green Bay is tied for 27th in offensive fourth-down conversions. The Vikings are fourth in the league.
On the flip side, Green Bay has struggled badly in getting their defense off the field on fourth down. Opponents have converted eight of 10 fourth down attempts – the most conversions allowed by any team in the league.
The Packers are ninth in punt return average. The Vikings are dead last.
Chris Kluwe is seventh in the league in gross punt average, but, when return yardage is factored in, the Vikings are 29th in the league in net punt yardage.
On defense, there is a huge disparity between the Vikings and Packers when it comes to stopping the run. Aside from the yardage allowed, the Packers are 30th in the league in average per rushing attempt against them (only Denver and Kansas City are worse) and the Vikings are third (only Pittsburgh and Baltimore are better).
The Packers defense leads the league in interception percentage per passes thrown against them, while the Vikings are 21st.
Green Bay is fifth in defensive punt return average. Like offensive punt return yardage, the Vikings are also last in the defensive coverage of punts. The Vikings have allowed 413 yards in punt returns. Miami is 31st, having allowed 265 yards.
Vikings opponents have missed five of 16 field goal attempts, thanks to three blocked field goal attempts. That percentage is second best in the league – only Tennessee has done better in preventing field goals from being made.
The Packers are tied for seventh in the league in giveaway/takeaway ratio at plus-4. That is thanks in large part to being tied for the league lead in interceptions with 13, but the team has just one fumble recovery, which is the lowest in the league. The Vikings are tied for 21st in the league with a minus-2 ratio, turning the ball over 16 times and having 14 takeaways.
The Packers rank 14th in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 12 of 23 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The Vikings are 31st with just eight TDs in 23 red zone trips. The only team with a worse touchdown percentage in the red zone is Oakland.
Defensively, the Packers are eighth in the red zone, allowing 11 touchdowns on 27 opportunities. The Vikings are 18th, having allowed 13 touchdowns in 24 red zone trips.
League-wide, teams average 5.28 yards on first down. Offensively the Vikings are 12th (5.60 yards), while the Packers are 20th (5.13). Defensively, Green Bay is 15th (5.11) and the Vikings are 22nd (5.46).
When it comes to covering kickoffs, the Packers have been much more effective. Green Bay opponents have had an average starting position of the 24.5-yard line, while Vikings opponents have averaged starting on the 29.4-yard line.
The Packers have got three 300-yard passing games out of Aaron Rodgers and haven't allowed an opposing QB to top 300 yards.
The Vikings have yet to have a 300-yard passing day and have allowed two QBs (Peyton Manning and Drew Brees) to top the 300-yard plateau.
Both the Vikings and Packers have allowed three receivers to top 100 yards. The Packers have four 100-yard receiving days – three from Greg Jennings and one from Donald Driver. The Vikings have three – all from Bernard Berrian.
When it comes to 100-yard rushers, Adrian Peterson has topped the century mark five times, while the Vikings defense has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. Ryan Grant has just one 100-yard rushing day (and that required 31 carries), while the Green Bay defense has allowed four 100-yard rushers – including A.D. in Week 1.
No quarterback in the league is better on third down than Rodgers. He has a passer rating on third down of 126.7 – more than eight ratings points better than the next-best total. He has completed 53 of 78 passes (67.9 percent) for a league-best 731 yards and 10 touchdowns. Only two other QBs – Tony Romo (6) and Philip Rivers (7) have more than five TD passes on third down.
Peterson enters play today needing 177 yards to reach 1,000 for the second time in as many years. He is second in the league with 823 rushing yards and trails Clinton Portis (995 yards), who has this week off.
Grant is 12th in the league with 550 rushing yards and his 3.5-yard average is the lowest of any player with more than 300 yards rushing.
Jennings is tied for 21st in receptions with 40 and Driver is tied for 30th with 36 catches. Bobby Wade leads the Vikings with 33 receptions, good for a tie for 38th place.
Jennings is second only to Andre Johnson of the Texans for receiving yards with 764. Berrian is ninth with 621 yards – the highest a Vikings receiver has ranked in yardage since Randy Moss was with the team.
Of players with more than 20 receptions, Berrian's average of 20.7 yards per catch is tops in the league. Jennings is third with a 19.1-yard average.
Both kickers Ryan Longwell and Mason Crosby have scored 66 points – tying them for 11th in the league in scoring among kickers.
Crosby ranks sixth in the league with 10 touchbacks on kickoffs. Longwell is 30th with just two touchbacks.
In total yards from scrimmage, Peterson is fourth with 888 total yards, Jennings is 11th with 764, Berrian is 24th with 624 and Grant is 39th with 558.
Only six players in the league have four interceptions and two of them – Charles Woodson and Nick Collins – are Packers.
Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are tied for eighth in the league with seven sacks each, but Williams has just one career sack against the Packers.
A total of 15 players are tied for the league lead with two fumble recoveries. One of them is Vikings linebacker Ben Leber.
The Vikings have averaged holding the ball for 31:22 of each game. The Packers average having the ball for 31:01 per game.
The Vikings have been outscored 52-30 in the third quarter this year. That could be a bad sign, since the Packers have outscored their opponents 43-26 in the third quarter.
For most of last season, the Vikings struggled to get touchdown passes. This year, they have more passing TDs (10) than rushing (7).
Peterson has 176 carries, almost four times as many carries as Chester Taylor's 46 attempts.
The Packers have completed 63.3 percent of their passes, while allowing opponents to complete just 51.3 percent of pass attempts.