The Vikings have some injury concerns, mainly the availability of their best cornerback Antoine Winfield who left last week's season finale when the pain in his broken hand became too much to bear. Once Winfield left, Aaron Rodger's began playing like Aaron Rodgers and shredded the Vikings' defense of four touchdowns. Winfield will try to go but its likely he will exit early if/when his pain surges again.
The Packers on the other hand are finally healthy. Jennings, Cobb, Nelson and Jones will be healthy and active. With a lack of depth and talent in the secondary, is Minnesota doomed?
Maybe not. For starters, the last time
the Packers main contributors were all healthy (Jennings, Cobb, Nelson,
Woodson, Matthews), the Packers were 2-2 and would lose the next game to
Indianapolis without only Jennings to drop them to 2-3.
Further, this is week 18 of the NFL season. Even those players who are active aren't necessarily healthy. Often times games like this where two quality teams are playing each other for the 3rd time in a season
in a win-or-done playoff match for after
closely splitting the two previous contests are not decided by which team is healthiest. Instead, the winner is usually the team with the best game
plan, that makes the best adjustments before and
during the game, the team that executes the best and the team with
momentum coming in.
Given last week's victory the Vikings showed they made the better pre-game adjustments, they executed as well or better than the Packer's which gave them the win and the momentum. The Packers in game decision to target and burn Winfield's replacement, Marcus Scherels, was the in-game adjustment that kept the Packers in the game.
Thus, regardless of injuries on either side (aside from an early injury to Rodger's or Peterson which could be catastrophic to their respective teams), Saturday's winner will be the team that executes the best. This is particularly true because the Vikings are involved. The Vikings are 10-0 this year when they win or tie the turnover battle. They are 0-6 when they lose it.
The odds have to favor the experienced, playoff savy Packers. But as recent history has shown you can not count out a group of youngsters playing their best football at the right time like the Vikings are. One thing is for sure, it will be fun to watch!