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Packers get healthier as they prepare for Zimmer’s 1-5 Vikings

LT David Bakhtiari headlined a list of injured players returning to practice Wednesday
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, left, talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12)...
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, left, talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)(Bruce Kluckhohn | AP)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers have *still* not lost an NFC North game under Matt LaFleur. And they hope to keep that streak going Sunday, against a Vikings team they tormented in Week 1, to the tune of 43 points in Minneapolis.

Strange as it is, Mike Zimmer’s Vikings own the 5th-worst total defense in the NFL. And they are even worse in points allowed, ranking 30th in the league, giving up 32 points per contest. You may think Aaron Rodgers would be salivating at the sight of his down-and-out 1-5 rival, but instead he is praising the opposing coach. After all, Zimmer has led Minnesota to just as many division titles as Green Bay has won in the last 5 years.

“Every time we play a Mike Zimmer team I have to be ready for everything,” Rodgers said. “He is a phenomenal coach. To see him mentioned as being on the hot seat is crazy. I think he is one of the best coaches in the league and has been for a long time. They don’t all give you the trouble and the scheme that Mike does. I have a lot of respect for the way he coaches, and the way he especially coaches defense.”

On the injury front, left tackle David Bakhtiari headlined a list of players returning at practice. Also back? RB Tyler Ervin, S Darnell Savage, DL Tyler Lancaster, and Injured Reserve guys WR Allen Lazard and ILB Christian Kirksey.

RB Aaron Jones and CB Kevin King are still sidelined, as was K Mason Crosby on Wednesday. While a lot of talk will surround the matchup between Davante Adams and the Minnesota defense, Matt LaFleur expects the biggest difference this time around to be the play of Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson against the Green Bay defense. Jefferson has caught on fast as a rookie after notching just 2 catches in the Week 1 meeting.

“He has really come a long way,” LaFleur said. “This guy is going to be a legitimate #1 receiver in this league, if he isn’t already. I mean he is explosive, you can tell he is a smart football, he has great hands, he is tough, he is competitive.”

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