With the heart of the schedule remaining, the Packers will need Matthews available for a playoff push.
The Packers did receive some good news on wide receiver Greg Jennings (abdominal) today. Jennings is expected to play for the first time since September 30 when he tried to fight off the pain in his groin and abdomen against the Saints.
Without Jennings, the Packers were 5-2 and averaged 238.1 yards of passing per game. During that stretch, Packer receivers filled in nicely for Jennings.
James Jones caught five touchdowns, while Randall Cobb added seven more.
With Jennings in the lineup, the Packers fire power instantly increases. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was harassed and punished trying to find open receivers in last Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. Rodgers will hope that having Jennings on the field will help free up some of the receivers.
While the Packers will be without a few players, the Vikings will be missing wide receiver Percy Harvin (ankle). Harvin is a dynamic player similar to the Packers' Cobb who also returns kicks.
The Packers main focus in practice has to be stopping the run. They will be facing an elite running back in Adrian Peterson and the Vikings will be giving him the ball consistently throughout the game
To help stop Peterson, defensive end Ryan Pickett (thigh) is listed as probable. Pickett is a fine run-stopper despite his age (33).
While the odds-makers are predicting a Packer victory (favored by 8.5 points), the team must find a way to stop Peterson and ensure young quarterback Christian Ponder does not light up the scoreboard, or the predicted win could be a heartbreaking loss.