Their records would say the Vikings and Packers are pretty evenly matched. So do their statistics through three games. Tonight's contest looks like a tight one, where one play could be the deciding difference. After a few notes from Sunday, we get down to the nitty-gritty stats and rankings.
The Metrodome has become the destination location for Minnesota sports fans and, thanks to some weekend heroics, the Dome will continue to be shared for at least one more game.
As recently as mid-week of last week, it was believed that the Vikings would be the only tenant of the Metrodome by the time Monday rolled around, but thanks to the Detroit Tigers losing a three-game lead with four games to play and the Minnesota Twins winning out against the Kansas City Royals, while the Metrodome is undergoing a makeover to accommodate both the Vikings-Packers game and the ESPN broadcast crew on the sidelines, it will have to undergo some changes again in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
The Twins and Tigers would have been scheduled to play their one-game playoff for the divisional title Monday with the winner advancing to face what will be the heavily favored New York Yankees. Language was written into the Metrodome lease that gives the Vikings precedence to regularly scheduled games unless that conflicts with a World Series game. As a result, the Twins and Tigers will meet at 4 p.m. Central time Tuesday afternoon, leaving sports fans drained and a lot more people than usual claiming to have a mild strain of the H1N1 virus over the next couple of days.
What has gotten into Darren Sharper? The former Vikings safety leads the NFL with five interceptions and has brought two of them back for touchdowns – one of 97 yards and another of 99 yards on Sunday – for the Saints.
Week 4 began with three unbeaten teams in the NFC and the other two did their part – the Giants and Saints both improved to 4-0 with decisive wins.
If the Packers can beat the Vikings, there will be a three-way tie atop the NFC North with the Vikings, Packers and Bears all at 3-1.
The Vikings might be glad they got their win over San Francisco. The 49ers are now 3-1, with their only loss coming from the Metrodome Miracle last week. The other three teams in the sorry NFC West are a combined 2-9, with one of those wins coming when Seattle beat St. Louis in a game one of them had to win.
VIKINGS-PACKERS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings entered Week 4 with the 18th-ranked offense (7th rushing, 26th passing) and the 4th-ranked defense (12th rushing, 4th passing). The Packers had the 22nd-ranked offense (18th rushing, 18th passing) and the 19th-ranked defense (23rd rushing, 13th passing).
The Vikings have averaged 148 yards rushing a game and 174 passing, while the Packers have averaged 207 yards passing and 106 yards rushing.
Defensively, the Vikings have allowed just 168 yards a game passing and 92 yards a game rushing. Green Bay has allowed 207 yards a game passing and 129 yards rushing.
Both teams have allowed too many sacks. Through three games, the Vikings were ranked 27th in the league in sacks allowed per pass play, but the Packers were dead last at No. 32.
Both teams have had some electrifying kickoff returns. The Vikings came into this weekend's play ranked first in kick return average, while the Packers were tied for fourth overall.
Percy Harvin came into the week leading the NFL in kick returns, averaging 35.8 yards per return. Green Bay's Jordy Nelson was second, averaging 31 yards per return.
Thanks to their strong kick returning, the Vikings ranked first in the NFL in average starting position following kickoffs (the 35.5-yard line). The Packers were sixth at the 27.7-yard line. The league average starting position is the 25.4-yard line.
Both teams have struggled in the punting game. The Vikings are ranked 29th in net punt average, but the Packers are even worse at 30th. Only the Patriots and Panthers have done worse on net punting average.
Both teams have had their trouble covering punts as well. The Vikings are 30th in the league in punt return yardage allowed, while the Packers are a step behind at No. 31.
The Vikings entered play this week tied for fourth in the league in giveaway-takeaway ratio art plus-4 (six takeaways, two giveaways). But they and the rest of the league were stuck looking up at Green Bay, which was first at plus-8 (9 takeaways, 1 giveaway).
Green Bay came into Week 4 tied for ninth in red zone efficiency, scoring six touchdowns in 10 red-zone chances. The Vikings were tied for 14th with five TDs in 10 chances. Both teams have scored points on eight of their 10 red-zone trips.
Defensively, the Vikings were tied for 21st in the red zone, allowing four touchdowns on seven chances. The Packers were tied for 28th, having allowed six touchdowns in nine opposing trips into the red zone.
Offensively, the two teams couldn't be much closer matched in terms of picking up first downs. The Packers have 58 offensive first downs – 20 rushing, 31 passing and seven by penalty. The Vikings have 56 – 20 rushing, 31 passing and five by penalty.
The Vikings have been much better converting third downs. The league average is 38.1 percent and the Vikings have converted on 42.2 percent (19 of 45), while Green Bay has made good on just 33.3 percent (12 of 36).
Defensively, nobody has been better than the Vikings, who have allowed opponents to convert on just eight of 36 third downs (22.2 percent). The Packers are above the league average (38.1 percent) by allowing 39.5 percent conversions (17 of 43).
Both teams have struggled to make significant gains on first down. The league average is 5.51 yards on first down through three weeks. The Vikings were ranked 22nd at 4.89 yards, with the Packers right behind them in 23rd place with 4.82 yards on first down.
Defensively on first down the Vikings ranked ninth (4.76 yards), while the Packers were mired in 23rd place at 5.86 yards per first-down play.
Adrian Peterson remains tied for the most points in a game this season – tied with Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew with 18 points. Peterson's big day came in the opener against Cleveland.
The most rushing attempts in a game this year came against the Packers defense, when Cincinnati's Cedric Benson ran 29 times for 141 yards in their upset win at Lambeau Field.
Last week, Favre had the first 300-yard passing game of the Brad Childress coaching regime, which was in its 51st regular-season game last week. Aaron Rodgers hasn't had a 300-yard game this year.
The Vikings haven't had a 100-yard receiving game this year. Green Bay's Greg Jennings has done it twice – gaining 106 yards against Chicago and 103 yards on just two receptions against St. Louis.
Peterson has the only 100-yard rushing game for either team. The Packers have allowed two opposing running backs to top 100 yards – Benson's 141 yards in Week 2 and Steven Jackson's 117 yards for the Rams last week.
To date, the Vikings defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher, 100-yard receiver or 300-yard passer.
Entering play this weekend, Favre had the eighth-best passer rating in the league at 94.5, but was 16th in attempts, 12th in completions, 25th in yards and 24th in average gain per pass. Rodgers, who was ranked seventh with a passer rating of 97.2 was 22nd in attempts, 23rd in completions and 26th in completion percentage.
Rodgers has been money in the fourth quarter. His 117.0 passer rating in the fourth quarter is sixth best in the league. Favre is 13th with a fourth-quarter passer rating of 106.9.
On third downs, Rodgers has a passer rating of 111.3 – third-best in the league. Favre isn't far behind in seventh place with a rating of 99.2.
Peterson entered Week 4 as the NFL's leading rusher with 357 yards in three games. After Sunday's action, he dropped to fifth, but needs just 11 yards to pass both Benson and Steven Jackson for third place and 13 yards to pass Ronnie Brown for second place. To maintain his leadership among runners, he will need 78 yards to surpass the 434 yards Chris Johnson has gained for Tennessee.
Coming into play this week, Chester Taylor was tied for 19th in receptions with 15. Donald Driver led the Packers with 14 receptions, good enough for a tie for 30th place.
Driver entered play in 13th place with 233 receiving yards, while Jennings was far behind in 19th place with 209 yards. Harvin led the Vikings with 128 yards, tying him for 63rd place in the league.
Both Harvin and Taylor were tied for third place in the league with eight receptions each on third down. The Packers didn't have anyone with more than four third-down receptions.
Taylor has almost as many receptions (15) as he does rushing attempts (17) this season.
Entering play this week, Ryan Longwell was fifth in scoring among kickers with 28 points, while Green Bay's Mason Crosby was tied for eighth with 25 points.
The Packers have been a Jeckyl-Hyde from one quarter to the next. They have outscored opponents 23-7 in the first quarter, been outscored 20-0 in the third quarter and outscored opponents 27-6 in the fourth quarter.
The Packers have a league-high seven interceptions through three games while not having thrown a pick of their own.
Opposing quarterbacks of the Packers have a dismal passer rating of just 66.3 with six touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The Vikings have been outscored 37-30 in the first half of games, but have outscored opponents 58-20 in the second half.
Peterson and Harvin have accounted for seven of the Vikings' 10 touchdowns this year.
At his current pace, Peterson is on track to rush for 1,904 yards.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this hot topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.