Devonte Wyatt One of Many Packers Rookies That Need to Step Up

Packers Defensive Line

Not many would have guessed that the Green Bay Packers would still be playing for a playoff berth. It wasn’t long ago that many experts believed the Packers 2022 season was over. But after winning three in a row, they have a chance to shock many by earning a playoff berth. A lot will be on the line Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings come to town. The Packers will be looking to keep their playoff hopes alive while the Vikings will be playing to earn the top seed in the NFC playoffs. If the Packers are to win, they will need contributions from several of their rookies. One of those rookies is defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt.

Devonte Wyatt is One of Several Green Bay Packers Rookies Who Will Need to Step Up

This week, it was announced that veteran defensive lineman Dean Lowry was placed on the injured reserve list. While Lowry wasn’t having an impressive 2022, with 43 combined tackles, only one of them for a loss, and just a half a sack, he was a key piece in the defensive line rotation.

Veteran Jarran Reed will be expected to pick up the slack with Lowry now lost for the season. Reed started out the season slow but has turned it on in the latter part of the season. Entering Sunday’s game against the Vikings, Reed has had 48 combined tackles, with five of them for a loss, and two and a half sacks. Against the Vikings, Reed will have to continue his improved play.

Filling in for Lowry is expected to be rookie first-round pick, Devonte Wyatt. It looked like early on Wyatt’s rookie campaign would be a wash. Wyatt wasn’t seeing much time behind Lowry, Reed, and TJ Slayton on the Green Bay Packers defensive line. But in the past several games, Wyatt has seen more playing time. In the Packers past two games, he has contributed three combined tackles and a half sack.

Being a first-round pick, the Packers expected Devonte Wyatt to be more of a contributor this season. While it appeared early on he wouldn’t be much of a factor this season, with Lowry’s injury, he has the opportunity to contribute at a key time.

Devonte Wyatt isn’t the only rookie that will need to step up on Sunday. He is joined by several Green Bay Packers rookies who will need to play well if the Packers are hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Packers Passing Attack Will Need Doubs to Step Up

Romeo Doubs was the talk of this season’s training camp. With fellow rookie Christian Watson recovering from knee surgery, Doubs grabbed the attention of Packers fans. If there was a big catch to be made, it was Doubs making it.

A high ankle injury against the Detroit Lions in week nine caused Doubs to miss some time. With him out, Watson stepped up and did so in a big way. In a four-game span, Watson hauled in seven touchdown receptions and also chipped in one rushing touchdown. He became “instant offense” for Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay Packers offense.

But last week, in the Packers 26-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Watson suffered a hip injury. The injury forced Watson out of the game and has made his status for Sunday iffy at best.

If Watson can’t go, which will be a big blow for the Packers, it will be up to Doubs to step in as the playmaker. Veteran pass catchers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb will also need to contribute. But neither of them has the ability Doubs has to make a big play in the passing game.

In the Packers last three games, Doubs has hauled in nine passes for 109 passes. It appears that Doubs injury is starting to finally get healthy. The Vikings have a questionable secondary. If Watson can’t go, Matt LaFleur will need to utilize the big play ability that Doubs flashed in training camp.

Walker Will Be a Key Piece in Stopping the Vikings Rushing Attack

Devonte Wyatt isn’t the only rookie defensive player that needs to have a big day on Sunday. Inside linebacker, and fellow first-round draft choice, Quay Walker will also need to have a big game.

Unlike Wyatt, Walker has been a key contributor to the Green Bay Packers defense all season. He has started 14 games, registering 106 combined tackles, with five of them being for a loss and one and a half sacks. Veteran inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell missed time this season due to an injury, which forced Walker to mature quickly. While he has had some bumps, as most rookies have, he has shown glimpses of why the Packers selected him in the first round.

The Vikings offense is similar to the Packers.  They utilize the run to set up the pass. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook might be getting older, but he still has the ability to bust long runs. If the Joe Barry-coordinated Packers defense is going to have any chance to stop Cook, Walker and Campbell will need to play well. Walker especially, who has outstanding closing speed.

Something to watch for on Sunday will be in passing situations. Barry has dabbled with using Walker as a pass rusher as of late and might continue that on Sunday. Walker’s speed could make it difficult for the Vikings offensive line to protect quarterback Kirk Cousins.