Added Matthews: “Obviously coming in as a free agent, it's difficult to not only make a team but get some playing time. Now he's a starter for this team and he's playing very well – (with a) number of sacks, number of big plays and tackles. … I think he's got a lot of potential. I think he'll continue to grow and continue to develop especially because he's such a young player.”

Just as defensive end Mike Neal’s growth has helped Matthews and the defense as a whole – the two frequently line up on the same side and run games together – having Moses play well on the opposite side would make opposing quarterbacks that much more skittish. Moses can’t simply be happy to be here anymore; he must produce.

“It’s a blessing to have the opportunity, and I’m still trying to make the best of it,” Moses said. “I’m learning a bunch each week, each game, each day, so it’s just a learning process for me. I’m trying to do my job and be where I’m supposed to be. I’m a part of this defense, and I’m held accountable, and I’d like to be a guy who is where he’s supposed to be. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m working and I’m improving each week.”

THE PREDICTION

Both teams have something to play for here. It’s more or less win-or-go-home for the Vikings, who’d need significant help to reach the postseason with a loss and 9-7 record. The Packers, meanwhile, would like a first-round playoff bye before opening postseason play at home at Lambeau Field in NFC Divisional play. They’d also like to avoid a third meeting with Peterson & Co. In the first meeting, quarterback play was the difference. Despite Peterson running wild, Ponder’s mistakes sunk the Vikings. Rodgers, meanwhile, kept the Packers together, even after they coughed up a 10-0 lead and trailed 14-10. The guess here is it’s the fulcrum of the game again.  Packers 24, Vikings 20. (Season record: 9-6)

– Jason Wilde