Before they meet as rivals for Sunday’s noon kickoff between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Harrison Smith joined forces online for a little battle-royale action.
The Packers wide receiver streamed his “Fortnite: Battle Royale” team-up with the Vikings safety for a few hours Thursday night from his Twitch account, offering a unique, behind-the-scenes look into the social life of a younger generation of NFL players.
Throughout their matches of the popular online video game, Valdes-Scantling and Smith played in a four-man squad with two other players and talked as most gamer friends do about things beyond the in-game strategies. Conversations during the streams occasionally touched upon the NFL, at one point discussing whether Jameis Winston would win his first road game since 2016 prior to Thursday night’s delayed kickoff.
Valdes-Scantling streamed from his couch while playing as a character that wore his complete home green Packers uniform, right down to his No. 83. Same went for Smith’s character, who charged into battle donning a No. 22 purple Vikings get-up.
Just don’t count on them being quite as friendly when they meet between the hash marks Sunday at Lambeau Field, where the undefeated NFC North rivals will decide which will be the first definitive frontrunner of the division in 2019.
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NFC Northers Latest to Join Trend
For what it’s worth, Packers fans, Valdes-Scantling has some skills at the game. He also now joins a growing list of athletes and celebrities to publicize streaming “Fortnite” sessions.
Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster got in as a teammate on a much-hyped stream between Drake and Ninja — also known as Tyler Blevins, the most popular professional gamer in the world who reportedly pulls in $500,000 for live-streaming his gameplay. Rapper Travis Scott, who performed at last year’s Super Bowl halftime show, was also part of the squad.
Though, the game’s connection to other professional sports hasn’t always been welcomed.
Carlos Santana reportedly smashed a television in the Philadelphia Phillies clubhouse last September because players were playing “Fortnite” as the team’s playoff hopes faded. Back in early May, the Boston Red Sox also had to ban the game from their clubhouse after it was reportedly deemed a distraction after a 14-7 start.
Packers Offense Has Something to Prove
Valdes-Scantling was a bright spot for the Packers offense in their Week 1 victory over the Chicago Bears, hauling in four catches for 52 yards with a 47-yard grab that helped set up the game’s only touchdown. Apart from that scoring drive, though, the story was defense, defense, defense for the first time in a long time for Green Bay.
Regardless, Aaron Rodgers and new head coach Matt LaFleur have reiterated since last Thursday’s postgame that they expect better from themselves and the offense in Week 2 at home against the Vikings. Only three times last season did Rodgers throw for fewer yards than he did last week against the Bears (203), excluding the final game where he threw just five times.
If Rodgers does up his game to the usual level of the high-scoring series between the teams, expect Valdes-Scantling to develop further as an integral piece of the Packers’ passing game opposite star wideout Davante Adams.