Minnesota (2-2) at Green Bay (2-2), 8:25 p.m. (CBS and NFL Network) It’s an NFC North/NFC Norris matchup in the land of bratwurst and cheese as the second quarter of the NFL season begins when Green Bay at 2-2 hosts 2-2 Minnesota at historic Lambeau Field Thursday evenuing at 8:25 p.m. on CBS/NFL Network.

Minnesota enters Week 5 following a 41-28 victory over Atlanta, spurred by impressive performances from the team’s 2014 rookie class. The Purple Gang outrushed Atlanta 241-123 and picked off Matt Ryan three times, including an interception that all but sealed Atlanta’s fate. The vikings led 24-14 at the intermission and outscored the Falcons in the second half 17-14. Atlanta went 10-15 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 27:08, while Minnesota went 6-13 (1 of 1 on fourth down), holding the ball for 32:52.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgwater (Round 1, Number 32 overall from Louisville) made his first career start and completed 19 passes for 317 yards for a 98.9 passer rating, becoming just the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Eric Hipple, 1981; Browning Nagle, 1992; Jay Fiedler, 2000; Robert Giffin III, 2012) with at least 300 passing yards and no interceptions in his first career start. Bridgewater also added a 13-yard rushing touchdown.

Running back Jerrick McKinnon (Round 3, Number 96 overall from Georgia Southern) rushed for a game-high 135 yards, including a 55-yard run, which is tied for the fourth-longest run by a rookie in team history. Matt Asiata chipped in with 3 TDs and 78 yards on 20 carries.

On defense, linebacker Anthony Barr (Round 1, No. 9 overall) collected six tackles and a sack in the win. Barr is now tied for the team lead with two sacks this season.

“We have a nice Thursday night game coming up against Green Bay,” says Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, who kicked his franchise-leading 14th field goal of 50+ yards in Sunday’s win. “This is a really important game for us, in the division, against our rival, and we haven’t beaten Green Bay there in a while so we’re going to come out firing.” Minnesota remains without the services of RB Adrian Peterson (suspended).

“I like how this team competes,” Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and KARE-TV. “I like how it works. I like how it studies. I thought our guys played very hard. This was a great team win.”

Green Bay heads into Thursday night after a 38-17 win at Chicago, the 700th regular-season win in franchise history. The Packers joined the Bears (732) as the only teams to accomplish the feat. Although they were held to 56 yards on the ground and allowing RB Matt Forte to run for 122 of Chicago’s 235, the Packers did force a pair of Jay Cutler interceptions to take the win. Green Bay was 4-8 on third down tries, while Chicago was 7-11 (2 of 3 on fourth) and kept the ball from Da Bears for 23:38 to Chicago’s 36:22. The contest also had one more stat of interest… neither team punted in the game.

In the victory, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 22 of 28 passes (78.6 percent) for 302 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 151.2 passer rating. Rodgers, who now has 25,196 career passing yards, reached 25,000 passing yards in 3,065 attempts, the fewest attempts in NFL history to reach the mark. Kurt Warner, who previously held the mark, reached 25,000 yards in 3,076 attempts. “We know what we’re capable of as an offense” WR Randall Cobb told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We have a lot of playmakers. We’re going to continue to gel.”

Heading into this week’s matchup, Rodgers has led the Packers to a 4-1 record when he starts on Thursdays, including a 3-0 record against NFC North opponents. Since 2009, Rodgers is among the leaders in many passing categories on Thursdays, ranking first in the NFC in completion percentage (70.9) and tied for first in the NFC with 10 touchdowns. He is also second in the NFC with 1,375 passing yards and third in the conference with a 109.0 passer rating on Thursdays during that span.

Green Bay leads the series with the Purple Gang 55-48-2, while outscoring Minnesota 2,228-2,044. Minnesota and Green Bay met twice last season and the Packers went 1-0-1 in both contests.

In the first meeting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Green Bay took a 24-17 lead at the half and came away with a 44-31 win in week 8. In that contest, both teams managed to rush for over 100 yards (Green Bay with 182, Minnesota with 111) and the Packers defense sacked Christian Ponder three times in the game, while Rodgers threw for a pair of TDs and no interceptions. Green Bay was 13-18 on third down conversions (2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 40:54 to Minnesota’s 19:06 (on third down, the Vikings were 2-8)

The two teams met at Lambeau in week 12 was a classic NFC North battle as both teams would eventually wind up tied at 26-26. Packers K Matt Crosby connected on a pair of field goals late in regulation, including a 26-yarder with 46 seconds left to pull even. Green Bay and Minnesota would trade field goals in the extra period and the contest would wind up even. Peterson ran for 146 of Minnesota’s 232, while Green Bay RB Eddie Lacy ran for 110 (Green Bay had 196) on the day. Ponder was sacked six times in the contest, while Rodgers did not participate (collarbone). Neither did anything for their fans to talk about on third down conversions in the second contest (Minnesota was 6-16, Green Bay was 3-16 and 2-2 on fourth down) and the clock was the friend of the Vikings this time, keeping the ball for 40:33, while the Pack held it for 34:27.

Green Bay in the first meeting in the Twin Cities, which was the final season for the Metrodome, was favored by 9 and the over/under was 47 1/2. Green Bay won by 13, covering the spread and both teams covered the over/under by combining for 74 points. In the second contest, a week 12 affair on the almost-frozen tundra, the Packers were again favored, this time by 5   with a 44 over/under. Both teams reached the over/under, scoring 52 points but the overtime tie killed any chance of either team covering the spread.

The oddsmakers in Vegas must like bratwurst and cheese, because they have made Green Bay a 9 1/2-point favorite and the over/under is 48 1/2. The over/under makes sense. The spread is a bit low. These two teams aren’t exactly fond of each other and given that, it could be closer than the 9 1/2. Green Bay might not cover the 9 1/2 but they leap at home with the win on Thursday.

Injury Report

Minnesota
OUT: LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib), TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen, groin)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle)
PROBABLE: RB Jerome Felton (knee), LB Michael Mauti (foot), RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle), CB Captain Munnerlyn (illness), CB Josh Robinson (hamstring), WR Rodney Smith (hamstring), LB Brandon Watts (knee)

Green Bay
OUT: WR Jarrett Boykin (groin)
DOUBTFUL:LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee)
PROBABLE:LB Brad Jones (quadricep), G T.J. Lang (not injury related), LB Clay Matthews (groin), LB Mike Neal (hip)

BROADCAST – CBS and NFL Network at 8:25 p.m.: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Boomer Esiason, Hub Arkush (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood 1), 93 (Minnesota), 92 (Green Bay). XM: 88 (WestWodd 1), 225 (Minnesota), 115 (Green Bay).

Weather – Cloudy with a 60 percent chance of rain and 63 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Dons Best and USA Today, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

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