Burning questions for Packers vs. Vikings on ‘Monday Night Football’

By Jesse Reed
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The final “Monday Night Football” game of the 2019 season is a big one, as the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings will battle with plenty on the line.

Coming into this game, the Packers (11-3) have a one-game lead over the Vikings (10-4) and hold the tiebreaker from their win earlier in the season over their rival. Both teams have already clinched a playoff berth, but there is still plenty at stake as far as seeding goes.

Looking at the matchups, there are some big questions that must be answered.

Can Mike Boone deliver?

Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook will not play this week Meanwhile, his backup, Alexander Mattison, missed the team’s last game and is questionable for Monday night’s game. Though, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported he does not expect Mattison to play, which means Mike Boone will be thrust into the spotlight.

Boone has 21 total carries all season for the Vikings. He’s been productive with his chances, going for 97 yards and two touchdowns. But now he’s going to have to show up big in a huge game as the primary running back on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

Can Packers keep Aaron Rodgers clean?

The first time these rivals met in Week 2, Minnesota put plenty of pressure on Aaron Rodgers. He was hit nine times and sacked twice. Yet. Rodgers managed to put together an efficient outing, completing 64.7% of his passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.

If the Vikings are going to win, chances are their pass rushers need to get home more often on Monday night. Rodgers, like every quarterback, can be frustrated and stymied with consistent pressure in his face. So, it’s going to be crucial for Minnesota stars like Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen to dominate Green Bay’s offensive line.

Can Adam Thielen supercharge the Vikings’ offense?

Until last Sunday, Adam Thielen had effectively been out of commission since late October with a hamstring injury. He was minimally effective in his first game back against the Los Angeles Chargers, catching just three passes for 27 yards.

Since both teams have strong defenses, this “Monday Night Football” game might not become an offensive shootout. However, Thielen needs to reassert himself as a preeminent option within Minnesota’s offense. Both to help his team win this week and to gear up for the playoff run.

Will Aaron Jones boom or bust?

Midway through this season, Aaron Jones was playing so well that Aaron Rodgers argued he should be an MVP candidate. Unfortunately, Jones has been a bit inconsistent.

The running back scored twice last week and rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown against Washington two weeks ago. But, he’s only had one 100-yard game in his past nine outings and was held to 50 rushing yards or lower in five of those.

Jones was a star in Week 2 against these same Vikings, rushing for 116 yards and a touchdown. Will he show up big once more to help the Packers roll to a divisional title, or will the Vikings keep him under wraps and put it all on Rodgers?

Can Kirk Cousins finally win on Monday night?

Kirk Cousins has gone 0-8 so far in his career on “Monday Night Football.” Earlier this season, he had a chance to change this brutal narrative in a close game against the Seattle Seahawks. Instead, he came up small in crunch time as the Vikings lost.

To be sure, Cousins has shown plenty of moxie this year and is changing the way he’s viewed heading into big games. But until he wins on Monday night, he’s not going to shake the label of a big-game bust.