A personal note on tonight’s Vikings-Packers game:
I came to Minnesota in 1990 to cover the Vikings. I had covered the Dallas Cowboys, purportedly the most popular team in football, and had experienced their rivalry with Washington. It was and is nothing like Vikings-Packers.
The Dallas-Washington rivalry is built on a cliched culture war - the Frontier Sheriff Cowboys against the elite East Coasters. Which was nonsense. There are lots of billionaires and hipsters in Dallas, and there are lots of blue-collar, red-necked Washington fans.
That rivalry felt big only when the games were big.
Vikings-Packers is different, for all the familiar reasons. Proximity and a constant dueling for supremacy in the division have made this rivalry as meaningful as it is personal. This is the best rivalry in Minnesota, and tonight it will once again have meaning. Both teams will make the playoffs, both have tangible home-field advantages, and matchups may mean everything in a deep and balanced NFC playoff field.
What I’ll be watching for tonight:
Mike Boone. He may not be as talented as Dalvin Cook or even Alexander Mattison, but he’s an explosive athlete with fresh legs. I think he could have a big game. My only concern about his overall production would be that the Vikings may prefer veteran Ameer Abdullah in the passing game and as a change-of-pace back.
Cook and Mattison have been officially listed as inactive for tonight.
I’ll also be interested to see how the Vikings defend the Packers one above-average proven receiver, Davante Adams. Do they put Trae Waynes on him, or double him, or let Xavier Rhodes take the first crack at him?
We’ll have blanket coverage again at Star Tribune and startribune.com.
No other organization covers the Vikings the way we do. Tonight we’ll have Ben Goessling, Andrew Krammer, Mark Craig, Chip Scoggins and myself writing live, and a slew of great photographers on the field.
I recommend picking up the Monday paper. Here's my feature from today on the Vikings' defensive line.
Thanks for reading.
My podcasts, including Jeff Diamond’s Vikings & NFL Insider, can be found at TalkNorth.com @Souhanstrib