"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Paul from Cumming, GA
No team is ever just one piece away, but is it safe to say the Packers are finally looking for smaller pieces instead of big ones?
Paul, I'm not even sure what that means or how to answer it, but your question is one of the first I saw when I opened my inbox and I chose to use it because it's one of the better questions in what is possibly the worst inbox in the history of this column. It's full of giggling and chortling and self-adulation. The only question worth answering is a guy wisely asked if Dalvin Cook would've made a difference. There is great joy in my inbox today and that's good because Christmas is a time for good cheer. Would Cook have made a difference? Probably.
Tufan from Harsewinkel, Germany
Vic, what does this game tell us about the upcoming playoffs?
It tells us the Packers will have a first-round bye and might not have to leave Lambeau Field in the postseason, provided the Packers beat the Lions. The win over the Vikings is huge. I wouldn't have liked the Packers' postseason chances in the No. 3 spot, having to beat the Vikings a third time and then having to win in New Orleans. With a win over the Lions, the Packers will be comfortably positioned for a run to the Super Bowl.
David from Washington, DC
Xavier Rhodes used to be really good. What happened to him? It sounds like he's having an awful season.
It's a game of replacement. The Vikings have a lot of replacing to do.
Jason from Des Moines, IA
Not trying to overreact but Za'darius Smith has been playing like a Hall of Famer these last four weeks. That good; 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss on Monday night. He's the most double-teamed defensive end in the league and is still dominating, plus, he's elevating the play of everyone around him with his attitude and violent energy. Have you seen singular players like that elevate under-performing defenses enough to make deep runs late in the season? As a die-hard Packers fan, this is the most entertaining season I've watched in five or six years.
I'm glad you haven't overreacted. Yes, Smith has been the difference-maker in the Packers defense. He's also a great celebrator. If he continues to play up to the standard he's set this season, I think the Packers can go to the Super Bowl.
Jacob from Green Bay, WI
The Packers and Vikings came into this game both guaranteed a playoff spot, but mostly with a division title and maybe a first-round bye on the line. However, the Vikings didn't look playoff-caliber. They won the turnover battle but still lost by two touchdowns. Are the Vikings playing just content to be in the playoffs? Or are the Packers playing with their eyes on stealing that No. 1 seed from the 49ers next week (go Seahawks!)?
The Packers were clearly playing with the No. 1 seed as their motivation. The Vikings? They had no chance and I think they knew it. Their arrow is pointing straight down, for the present and especially for the future. Cousins isn't a difference-making quarterback and they don't have the pieces in place to make a postseason run. Even worse, they killed their cap assembling those pieces. The future is not bright. I could see them losing to the Bears and then getting clobbered in New Orleans in the wild-card round of the playoffs. If that happens, we might hear a horn.
Peter from Cserkeszőlő, Hungary
The Packers dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Everyone is gonna talk about Smith and Clark, but what about the offensive line? Was this line really that good?
Garrett from Houston, TX
What a blessing. Twelve and three, shot at the one and our quarterback loves our coach. What an amazing season. I'm overjoyed.
Love is the answer.
Zak from Madison, WI
I don’t know if I believe in character wins, but I do believe these Packers can win football games in a variety of ways. It’s entertaining. Do you believe in character wins? If so, would you describe the game that way?
The Packers won because they're the better team.
Sean from Arlington Heights, IL
Does coach Vic play to win Week 17 at all costs or protect key starters and hope that’s enough against what is, on paper, an inferior opponent?
Oh, smugness, too.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
You called it, Vic. Cook's absence really changed the complexion of that game. What did you see in the Vikings that lead you to that conclusion?
Cook is their only difference-maker. Ever since they won that playoff game against the Saints on that fluke final play, the Vikings have been under-achievers. They find ways to lose big games, which they have against the Packers. They did the same thing to their cap heading into a new stadium the Rams have done to their cap heading into their new stadium. This was the Vikings' chance to step up, but they took a serious step back. They'll try to hold it together for one more run, but that'll only worsen the problem.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
What would you have told us earlier in the week if we said the Packers will turn the football over three times in the first half at Minnesota and still win by 13 points?
I would've said only a great, overpowering, dominant team could accomplish such a great feat.
Ethan from Ontario, Canada
They threw the ball and rushed the quarterback and won. Nicely done.
They also ran the ball, stopped the run and protected their quarterback.
Justin from Titonka, IA
Division champs, baby!
Here are the Week 17 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Ravens -- Have earned their rest.
2. 49ers -- Top spot on the line.
3. Packers -- Peaking.
4. Saints -- Defense slumping.
5. Chiefs -- All going their way.
6. Patriots -- Brady checking it down.
7. Seahawks -- Arrow drooping.
8. Texans -- Are they playoff ready?
9. Eagles -- Sanders is their star.
10. Bills -- Not there, yet.
11. Titans -- Should claim No. 6 spot.
12. Vikings -- No Cook, no chance.
13. Falcons -- What if?
14. Cowboys -- Dreadful.
15. Bucs -- Winston is killing them.
16. Steelers -- Nice try.
17. Rams -- Disappointment team of the year.
18. Broncos -- Future is bright.
19. Raiders -- Respectable.
20. Bears -- What will they do at QB?
21. Colts -- Tease.
22. Cardinals -- There's life in the desert.
23. Browns -- Bickering boobs.
24. Jets -- A kind of nothing season.
25. Chargers -- The other team.
26. Panthers -- McCarthy would be a good fit.
27. Jaguars -- Coughlin taking the blame.
28. Dolphins -- Draft will fix them.
29. Lions -- Hands to the face changed their season.
30. Washington -- Who will they hire?
31. Giants -- Defense requires attention.
32. Bengals -- Last will be first.