Packers vs. Vikings: Performances to watch

Linebackers Preston and Za'Darius Smith
Linebackers Preston and Za'Darius Smith

MINNEAPOLIS – The Packers are one win away from an NFC North title, and the Vikings are one win away from a playoff berth.

Here are five things to watch.

1. Excellence on the edge: Minnesota edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen have combined for 21½ sacks this season. Green Bay's Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith have combined for the exact same total. That's 43 sacks amongst four players on the same field Monday night. Which duo has the larger impact will go a long way toward deciding this game.

2. Turnover tendencies: The Vikings' defense ranks fourth in the league in total takeaways this season with 27, and the unit is coming off a seven-turnover effort against the Chargers last week. The Packers rank seventh with 23 takeaways, and LB Preston Smith and CB Kevin King have two of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins' five interceptions this season. Both teams will put a premium on protecting the football.

3. Revenge tour, part I: Cousins had one of his worst games of the season at Lambeau Field in Week 2, as he was held under 50% completions (14-of-32) and threw the two picks for a 52.9 passer rating. WRs Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who torched the Packers in two games in 2018, combined for just six catches for 124 yards, though Diggs did have a 45-yard TD. Minnesota's offense will be looking for redemption while Green Bay's defense would love a repeat performance.

4. Revenge tour, part II: The Packers jumped on the Vikings last time, taking a 21-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter, but then Green Bay was shut out over the final 44 minutes of the game. The Packers have been looking for a consistently productive performance on offense all season, and this would be the perfect time for it.

5. Climbing the charts: Packers RB Aaron Jones has 17 touchdowns this year, tying him with Don Hutson for fourth-most in a single season in team history. Up next on the list is Sterling Sharpe with 18 (1994), Jim Taylor with 19 (1962), and Ahman Green with the record 20 (2003). Jones has two games to go, as all team records are for the regular season only.

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