Packers at Vikings PREVIEW

Packers at Vikings PREVIEW

Minneapolis, MN - The Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay got off to an encouraging start with a win over Minnesota in the season opener, but the Packers have struggled to find their rhythm since.

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The Vikings have managed to turn around a disappointing start to the year thanks to the play of 15-year veteran Gus Frerotte.

In an important NFC North matchup, Rodgers and the Packers try to bounce back from a tough loss Sunday when they visit Frerotte and the Vikings.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made the Vikings -1 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on the Packers +1 (View NFL Football bet percentages).

Rodgers made his first career start against Minnesota on Sept. 8 and completed 18 of 22 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown to lead Green Bay to a 24-19 victory. Rodgers threw four TD passes and no interceptions in helping the Packers win their first two games, but they've since dropped four of six.

Minnesota did not get off to a strong start like Green Bay as it opened the season with consecutive losses, but the Vikings have won four of six since Frerotte took over as the starter for Tarvaris Jackson.

Minnesota (4-4) and Green Bay (4-4) are one game behind NFC North-leading Chicago.

The Packers lost 19-16 in overtime to unbeaten Tennessee last Sunday as they failed to make big plays. Green Bay gained 390 yards, but the offense slowed once it got into the red zone, settling for one touchdown and three field goals in four trips.

"We felt confident playing Tennessee," Rodgers said. "We just didn't execute as well as I know coach (Mike McCarthy) would have wanted us to. We're going to go back to the basics this week and have a good week of practice. We realize this is a big game coming up."

Rodgers was 22-of-41 for 314 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, but also threw an interception and fumbled once. Rodgers was under pressure most of the game, getting sacked four times, and he will face another stingy defense this week.

The Vikings, who have 21 sacks and have forced 14 turnovers on the season, had five sacks and three takeaways in last Sunday's 28-21 victory over Houston.

Minnesota's defensive line could be short-handed, though, as defensive end Jared Allen, who has five sacks in the last three games, is nursing a sprained right shoulder.

While the Vikings' defense had a strong outing against the Texans, Frerotte had his best game of the season.

Frerotte threw a season-high three touchdown passes and appears to be gaining confidence since being named the starter before Minnesota's 20-10 win over Carolina in Week 3. In his six starts, Frerotte has thrown four touchdown passes each to Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe.

"I think he's getting a lot more comfortable in our offense, a lot more comfortable with the plays that are called," wide receiver Bobby Wade said. "I think he's doing a lot more before the game that allows us to give ourselves the best chance to win."

In addition to the emergence of Frerotte, Minnesota still has one of the league's biggest offensive threats in running back Adrian Peterson.

The 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year finished with 139 yards on 25 carries last Sunday. He has rushed for 371 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games after running for 189 yards and two TDs in his previous three.

Peterson had little trouble running against Green Bay in Week 1, compiling 103 yards on 19 carries. In three career games versus the Packers, Peterson has run for 260 yards on 42 attempts.

One of Green Bay's biggest problems has been its run defense, which gave up 178 yards last Sunday. The Packers have the sixth-worst rush defense in the league, allowing 146.4 yards per game.

"Our goal is to be consistent on every single snap," Green Bay defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said. "And when you're not stopping the run like you'd think you'd like to or you'd know that you're capable of doing, certainly it's frustrating."

Peterson has been his best at home, rushing for 487 yards on 96 carries in four games at the Metrodome with Minnesota winning three of those contests.

The Vikings don't own the same home-field advantage over the Packers, though, losing four of the last five meetings at the Metrodome after winning nine of the previous 11 there.

Green Bay has won five straight overall against the Vikings and is looking to take six in a row for the first time since the first six meetings in the series from 1961-63.

Top Betting Trends
All games in this series since 1992
MINNESOTA is 17-17 against the spread versus GREEN BAY since 1992
GREEN BAY is 18-16 straight up against MINNESOTA since 1992
18 of 32 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
GREEN BAY is 4-1 against the spread versus MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons 
GREEN BAY is 5-0 straight up against MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons 
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at MINNESOTA since 1992
GREEN BAY is 9-7 against the spread versus MINNESOTA since 1992
MINNESOTA is 10-6 straight up against GREEN BAY since 1992
7 of 14 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons.
GREEN BAY is 2-0 against the spread versus MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons 
GREEN BAY is 2-0 straight up against MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
GREEN BAY
[RB] Kregg Lumpkin IR - Hamstring - 10/11/08
[LS] JJ Jansen IR - Knee - 08/30/08
[DE] Cullen Jenkins IR - Chest - 10/01/08
[SS] Atari Bigby is upgraded to probable - Hamstring - 10/28/08
[CB] Al Harris is upgraded to probable - Spleen - 10/28/08
[DE] Michael Montgomery missed last game, "?" - Ankle - 10/19/08
[DT] Justin Harrell is upgraded to probable - Back - 10/28/08
[WR] James Jones missed last game, "?" - Knee - 10/19/08
[DE] Jason Hunter missed last game, "?" - Hamstring - 10/19/08
MINNESOTA
[DE] Jayme Mitchell IR - Knee - 08/09/08
S Madieu Williams is upgraded to probable - Neck - 10/29/08
[WR] Sidney Rice left last game, %27?%27 - Knee - 10/19/08
[LB] Heath Farwell IR - Knee - 08/11/08
[DT] Kenderick Allen IR - Wrist - 08/19/08
[DE] Kenechi Udeze IR - Illness - 08/16/08
[LB] E.J. Henderson IR - Foot - 10/04/08
[LB] David Herron missed last game, "?" - Hip - 10/19/08

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