In one sense — and not in a way that either of the teams would welcome — the 117th meeting between the Vikings and the Green Bay Packers, at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night, will pit an irresistible force against an immovable object.
The Vikings will face a Packers team that is 0-5 away from Lambeau Field this season, having slipped to third in the NFC North during a four-game stretch that’s included road losses to the Rams, Patriots and Seahawks. The Vikings, on the other hand, are playing their fourth prime-time game of the season, and second in a row on Sunday night, after having lost three nationally televised matchups so far this season.
Minnesota, which is coming off a 25-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, has one more prime-time game left on the schedule — a Monday night matchup against Seattle on Dec. 10. On Wednesday, the Vikings collectively said there’s no underlying issue with their struggles in prime-time games, other than they’re generally playing good teams in those games.
“We got flexed to that prime-time [game] last week because we were playing a really good football team,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “If either of us weren’t good, I don’t think we would have been flexed. If there’s a difference with prime time, that would be it. I certainly don’t treat them any differently.”
Cousins is just 4-12 in his career in prime-time games, including an 0-3 record in night games this season with the Vikings.
“We’d have to go back through all the prime-time games I’ve played and talk through them, because every game is different,” Cousins said. “We won last year — and when I say ‘we,’ the previous team I was on — we won last year on Thanksgiving night. I don’t think I played all that well, and we won. It gets a little bit convoluted, when you start to look at a stat and pair it with a player. It becomes a bigger, more complicated picture than a win-loss record.”