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Inbox: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder 

The Packers need to stop the run regardless of who’s in the backfield Monday

QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Geronimo Allison
QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Geronimo Allison

Drew from Rogers City, MI

John from Topeka is spot on. I hate that inevitable "Awrooooooo!!" every time Minnesota scores or gets a big defensive stop! Let's go get our first win in that stadium, win the NFC North, and shove that winning block of cheese in that horn and get on to Detroit!

It's never easy entering enemy territory but it must be done. Aaron Rodgers said it best this week: "We're due" for a win at U.S. Bank Stadium. Also, thank you for reminding me to pack my noise-canceling headphones. Good morning!

Chris from Prior Lake, MN

Which Packers team is showing up on Monday? Another no-show won't kill the playoff run but it will be concerning.

The one that doesn't want to play the first week of January.

Zack from Christiansburg, VA

I keep seeing how GB wins ugly, but wouldn't that mean other teams that have lost are uglier? If that's the case wouldn't that mean out of 14 people we're prettier than 11 of them? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we sound pretty pretty.

That's the thing. You can make these wins and losses mean whatever you want them to mean. They validate all arguments, but you know what you can't argue with? The Packers have 11 wins – more than all but one NFL team right now. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that portrait is two more wins from looking like a regular-season masterpiece.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I know it didn't quite work but I LOVED the opening play call by LaFleur in the Chicago game. What's your choice of a play to begin in the noisy dome on Monday night?

It would be too obvious to go for another play-action deep shot play on the opening snap. So maybe wait until the second play this time.

Paul from Indio, CA

Should "the play-action and bootleg stuff Kirk Cousins loves" provide our pass rushers ample opportunity to draw holding penalties against the Minnesota O-line? I've seen it run often by the Vikings this year and have expected laundry to litter the field more so than it has.

The Packers have played bootlegs and play-action pretty well from a containment standpoint this season. My big question here on Saturday morning is who's going to be in the backfield for the Vikings. Because if the Packers shut down the run and the Smiths get off their blocks, it could make for a long night for Cousins and Minnesota's offensive line.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

Wes, Mike wants every Inbox reader to know "the other guys get paid, too." What mantra would you choose for us readers to take to heart?

There are few absolutes in the NFL and very rarely what happens one week immediately dictates the next.

John from Elgin, IL

It's time to put Allen Lazard Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow ahead of Geronimo Allison and MVS. What do you think?

I have no inside knowledge of what the snap distribution is going to look like Monday night, but it really sounds like Kumerow is going to be part of the game plan. And he's earned it. Not only because of his 49-yard catch against Chicago, but also the little things Kumerow has done well all season.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

A lot of things have to click for a deep playoff run. If the team elements jell across the board, then to win, I fully believe we will need a lights-out Rodgers streak ala 2010 or similar to Eli's runs to win another Lombardi. He needs to be game MVP during the playoff run, that will be the difference.

The Packers are going to need everyone on the 53-man roster to get job done Monday night and beyond, but I don't disagree this team needs Rodgers to play lead trumpet in a deep postseason run. The good news is he's played some of his very best football in these exact situations.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

All these analytics sites and clickbait sites all say the same thing, "Get Aaron Jones more touches!" It's nauseating. You think Coach doesn't know this? One of the main pitfalls of analytics is confusing correlation with causation. Maybe Aaron Jones is so effective because of the manner in which he is used. All I know is Jamaal Williams is a back that is made for January football in Lambeau.

Aaron Jones is on pace for 265 touches this year. Jamaal Williams, who missed a game, is looking at around 170. Together, that's 435. Last year, they finished with 307. Their numbers are right where they should be, especially with a playoff run to prepare for.

James from Asheville, NC

Which Packers rookie, relative to the round in which they were selected, has surprised you the most?

It has to be Elgton Jenkins. Yes, he was a second-round pick but he's played like a fifth-year veteran this year. Losing a guard like Lane Taylor could've been catastrophic for many offensive lines. For the Packers, it's just been next offensive lineman up.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

My matchup to watch, "29" can't cover "17" without safety help. AJ has had some nice games on turf and on the road.

I'm uncertain how the Vikings will defend Davante Adams Monday night. The most likely candidate is Trae Waynes, but even that's not a given with all the cornerbacks Minnesota has been rolling. Rather than speculating, I'll echo what Adams told reporters this week: "The way we approach stuff over here is we worry about what we're doing and the route we have is not necessarily predicated on who's out there. So, for us it doesn't really make a difference."

James from Chicago, IL

Have the Packers "fixed" the defense issues against tight ends? Is the forgotten man on the Vikings' offense Kyle Rudolph? He seems to have started to turn it on in the second half of the season.

It's been a good month since the Packers have faced an established veteran tight end, but I also think they're better suited to defend one. Regardless, Rudolph is a big test for this defense, particularly in the red zone.

Russ from Billings, MT

Good day and Merry Christmas to all...I know the word is that Dalvin Cook "probably" won't play. Do you feel that this may be a ploy on Minnesota's behalf in order to cause some confusion? I say plan on Cook because I trust those guys about as far as I can throw my truck. Thanks for the great work.

That answer kind of depends on what the injury report looks like later today. As I said on "Unscripted," Green Bay needs to stop the run the way it has the last couple weeks. I don't care if it's Cook, Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone, Robert Smith, Chester Taylor or Adrian Peterson back there. The Packers have to be ready for all of it Monday night.

Hunter from Swansboro, NC

The Packers have a legitimate shot at the No. 1 seed. How much would it help if they were to get that home-field advantage throughout the course of the playoffs?

San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans are all warm-weather teams. Have you ever been to Green Bay in late January? I'd call them the favorites.

Logan from Lamar, CO

What impact does a potential third game vs. the Vikings in a No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup have on the play-calling this week, if any? Have a great weekend gentlemen!

Zero. The Packers have to play this game like they won't see Minnesota again until next fall and leave no darts in the Nerf gun.

Cameron from Wayland, MI

So far Aaron says to ask Nathaniel Hackett and Hackett says to ask Aaron. What is that lasso celebration? Insiders got to know. Could you solve yeet-gate?

I guess it will remain a mystery unless I somehow develop psychic powers before the season is over.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Was Jared Veldheer active for the last game?


Anthony from Yardville, NJ

As a Packers writer, who do you think was the best Rodgers/receiver connection over the past years?

Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. Honestly, I'd put that year-after-year combo up against any other QB-WR duo in the NFL over the last 20 years.

Jack from Wauwatosa, WI

I would like to see the questions that don't get published someday! Yikes! I am a longtime fan and I cannot understand why fans can't see the big picture better. This team is going to be really good, but I am happy with where we are today. I remember the '70s and '80s, let's get a grip! Go Pack.

There are three types of questions that don't get published – the ones that don't make it on a busy day, the condescending questions that never had a chance and the somewhat humorous ones that don't fit a "PG" format.

Zach from Virginia Beach, VA

Guys, very early to ask this question but I thought I'd send it anyway. What is the contract status of Tyler Ervin? If he is due to be a free agent, do you believe his small sample size (last half of the season) will keep his contract demand small enough for the Pack to re-sign him?

He's in the final year of his contract. What I can't say definitively is whether Ervin will be an unrestricted or restricted free agent.

Sal from Hailey, ID

The screenshot for the latest "3 Things" had me cracking up, and the content did not disappoint! Great job, as always, on all of the extras you guys give us.

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed by Spoff's lack of aggression.

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

C'mon, Mike! Kuhn told you to get the ball! Drop the mic and get after it with two hands!

In Spoff's defense, he did have to make a business decision with the mic. You can bet that would've been payroll deducted if he broke it.

Steve from Middletown, KY

I agree that turnovers would impact this game immensely. What happens if there are no turnovers at all? Who has the edge? Would it come down to third-down conversions? Get the ball, Spoff, get it! Outstanding. I can handle the truth.

It goes back to something an old friend once told me – if both teams protect the ball, then the one who does more with it prevails. Field position and efficiency for the win.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

My last-workday-before-Christmas brain is not focusing on work. Instead, it's thinking about two-sport athletes like Deion and Bo, and how great it would be to see Giannis at tight end. Baseball-football can work out except for conflicts at MLB playoff time. Basketball-football not so much. Has there ever been a realistic attempt for an athlete to do it? And no, I don't count my Giannis fantasy as realistic.

The closest I can ever recall is Tony Gonzalez's flirtation with the NBA when he was in Kansas City. That's about it – at least in the modern era.

Mike from Ames, IA

Just wanted to send support to you guys for balancing an upcoming rivalry game, with huge playoff implications, with the holiday season. Work/life balance can get to us all this time of year, but the Inbox is always open and good to us readers. Have there been any times on the job when balancing the Pack and Christmas has been particularly stressful?

I'm so used to working holidays at this point that there's nothing too out of the norm with Christmas. Thanksgiving is probably more stressful since my family eats at high noon and my grandmother wants photos with her, my son, and my cousin's daughter. We make it work.

Joel from Green Bay, WI

I understand that this team has been "winning ugly," but I'm growing weary of the "we'll be one-and-done in the playoffs" mentality of a significant portion of the fan base. The 2011 team was nearly unstoppable in the regular season and then one-and-done in the playoffs. The 2010 team seemed like it wouldn't even make the playoffs for most of the season and then won the whole thing. Just keep winning, just keep winning…

I don't know if it's shellshock from the past two years but I almost feel like I need to sit Packers fans down and give them the Lou Brown speech. It's a Monday night game, so you'll have another dose of me Monday morning before Spoff takes over the post-game column. Have a good weekend, earthlings.