Category Archives: Minnesota Vikings

22

November

Packers Periscope: Week 12 vs Minnesota Vikings

The Past: The Packers played their last game at the Mall of America Field at the Metrodome in week 8 and showed exactly how dangerous a balanced Packers offense could be.  In short, the offense was brutally efficient; even without Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 24 passes out of 29 for 285 yards and two touchdowns to Jordy Nelson while adding 31 yards on 6 scrambles.  However the running attack needed no help from Rodgers this time as Eddie Lacy ground the Vikings defense for 94 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown while James Starks provided the change of pace with 57 yards on only 7 carries (8.1 ypc) and a touchdown.

On defense, the loss of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry certainly didn’t help with the pass rush, but with Adrian Peterson’s body obviously starting to break down plus a “give up” call to put Christian Ponder back after perhaps the worst quarterback play in the history of the NFL by Josh Freeman the week against the Giants before left the Vikings offense in shambles; Peterson only managed 60 yards on a paltry 13 attempts while Ponder completed 50% of his passes for only 145 yards.

Perhaps the most interesting story of the night happened after the game where Greg Jennings purposefully pulled Aaron Rodgers aside and proceeded to awkwardly hug/presumable apologize for about 5 minutes to which Rodgers just nodded dutifully.  Neither Rodgers nor Jennings has fully disclosed what was said on the field, but as both players might be watching from the sidelines this game probably means that this will be a non-issue for either team (not that that will stop the media from covering it like it was).

The Present: The Vikings are perhaps as injury riddled in key positions as the Packers are, which is no small task.  Star running back Adrian Peterson has been hobbled by a groin injury and hasn’t been as explosive as he once was.  Leading wide receiver Greg Jennings was a surprise scratch from last weeks game against the Seattle Seahawks, much to the dismay of head coach Leslie Frasier. If Jennings does indeed miss his homecoming against the Packers, how much of it will because he simply doesn’t want to be on the field when he knows he can’t win back the fans?  The Vikings still also have questions at quarterback, Josh Freeman was expected to see the field at some point after recovering from his concussion due to his relatively large contract, but hasn’t seen the field as Matt Cassel played in relief of starter Christian Ponder when he dislocated his shoulder two weeks ago.  Aside from Christian Ponder’s shoulder injury, he will also be without his favorite target in tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is likely to be out with a broken foot.

20

November

Around the NFC North: Week 12

Around the NFC North

Just one game separates the top three teams in the NFC North heading into week 12.

Despite the recent slide that the Green Bay Packers have gone through, they are just one game out of first place in the NFC North at 5-5.  The Packers dropped their third straight this past week to the New York Giants.  It was also Green Bay’s third straight loss to the Giants, including playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings were no match for the NFC-leading Seattle Seahawks and fell to 2-8.  This week, the Vikings will head to Lambeau Field to round off their season series with the Packers.  For Green Bay, Scott Tolzien has already been named the starting quarterback.  The Vikings have announced that Christian Ponder will get the start for them.

The Detroit Lions were on the losing side of a wet n’ wild one in Pittsburgh as the Steelers thwarted some of Detroit’s trickery to preserve the win.  This week, the Lions host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have won two straight after losing their first eight.

The Chicago Bears weathered the storm and squeaked by the Baltimore Ravens in overtime.  That game was delayed due to weather shortly after kickoff.  The Bears will travel to St. Louis and face the Rams this week.

Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Rams (4-6)

The Bears get another “battle of the backups” this week as Josh McCown will start the Chicago and face backup Kellen Clemems for the Rams.  McCown will be making his third start of the season and in relief of Jay Cutler, who is now nursing an ankle injury.  McCown is 2-0 in his previous two starts.  Clemens came on at quarterback for the Rams when starter Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending ACL injury last month.

St. Louis is coming off of their bye week and after upsetting the Indianapolis Colts the week prior.  That win snapped a three-game losing streak and was Clemens’ first win as a starter.  Clemens needed only 16 passing attempts and nine completions, two for touchdowns, to defeat the Colts.

Both the Bears and Rams have running backs who have been playing well this season.  St. Louis’ Zac Stacy has three touchdown runs in the last two games.  Chicago’s Matt Forte has averaged just over five yards per carry and has three touchdowns against the Rams in three career matchups.  Forte ranks sixth in overall rushing with 774 yards and nine touchdowns on the year.

13

November

Around the NFC North: Week 11

Around the NFC North

The Lions are alone atop the NFC North with just a one-game lead over the Bears and Packers

The NFC North continues to be one of the more intriguing divisions in football with the ever-changing landscape from week to week.  The Detroit Lions are now alone in first place after completing a sweep of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.  The Bears and Green Bay Packers now have matching 5-4 records with the Bears holding the tie-breaker with a head-to-head win.

The Packers fell to the Philadelphia Eagles and had more quarterback issues as they lost their second straight game.  The Minnesota Vikings won their Thursday night matchup against the Washington Redskins and improved to 2-7 on the season.

Each of the four North teams have already had their bye so each will face a busy back half of the schedule.  The Packers and Giants matchup was flexed out of the Sunday night primetime slot a few weeks back and that will now be an afternoon contest that starts at 4pm EDT.

The Lions visit the Pittsburgh Steelers while the Bears host the Baltimore Ravens.  The Vikings head to the great Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th man.

Let’s take a look at each matchup and the implications it could have on the rest of the season.

Minnesota Vikings (2-7) at Seattle Seahawks (9-1)

Both teams are coming off of victories this past week but that’s about where the similarities between these two teams end.  The Seahawks have found countless ways to win games this year.  Low scoring, high scoring, and defensive battles, they have seen it all and done most of it.  With the San Francisco 49ers struggling with some consistency, the NFC West is all but Seattle’s for the taking.

This week’s matchup has them hosting the Vikings, who have struggled through mediocre quarterback play and dealt the injuries on defense that have all but derailed their season.  Minnesota is 0-4 on the road and couldn’t be coming to a more unfriendly road environment this week.  Seattle’s CenturyLink Field boasts one of the loudest crowds in the NFL.

6

November

Around the NFC North: Week 10

Around the NFC North

A three-way tie at the top of the NFC North sets the tone for a second half showdown between the Bears, Lions and Packers

The back half of the 2013 NFL schedule is officially underway.  In the NFC North, there is currently a three-way tie for first place with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers all knotted up at 5-3.  The Minnesota Vikings still have only one win to seven losses.

The big news out of the division was the Bears’ 27-20 win over the Packers on Monday night.  Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was hurt early in that game and did not return.  On Monday, it was confirmed that Rodgers has a broken collarbone, but will not require surgery.  He will miss some time and that exact timetable is unknown.  Normally one player’s injury isn’t as noteworthy, but this is one that could very well shift power within the division.

Green Bay appeared to be in the driver’s seat to win the North with upcoming games against the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Detroit Lions.  Now, they just need to find a way to survive and hope that Rodgers misses minimal time.  The Packers aren’t the same team without Rodgers, regardless of who is backing him up.  With Seneca Wallace, their offense didn’t even resemble a shell of itself on Monday night.

Let’s take a look at this week’s games, which features another good divisional matchup between the Lions and Bears.

Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (1-7)

This is a tale of two playoff teams from a year ago who are disappointing this year.  The Vikings have managed just one win all season and that was a “home” game in London.  Their own fans still have not enjoyed a win in what will be the last season at Mall of America Field (Metrodome).  This one is the Thursday night matchup and will be Minnesota’s second primetime game in their last three.

During Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings lost tight end Kyle Rudolph, who will miss time with a broken foot.  Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was already struggling and will now be without one of his favorite targets.  John Carlson will assume the tight end duties, but expect some drop-off there.

30

October

Around The NFC North: Week 9

Around the NFC North

A big divisional matchup pits the Bears vs. Packers on Monday Night football in Week 9

At the halfway point in the NFL schedule, the divisional races are starting to legitimize themselves.  The Green Bay Packers earned a road victory over the division rival Minnesota Vikings last week and maintained their lead in the NFC North.  The Detroit Lions eeked out a last-second win at home over the Dallas Cowboys after some heroics by quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Chicago Bears had a bye last week and now look forward to preparing for a Monday night showdown against the Packers at Lambeau Field.  The Vikings will head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys and the Lions have their bye this week.  That leaves just two games within the Black n’ Blue division to review.

Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4)

The Cowboys have to be reeling after suffering a heart-breaking loss on the game’s final play in Detroit.  Dallas now holds a very modest one-game lead in the NFC East and with just two games separating them and last place (New York Giants).  On paper, this looks like a good opportunity for the Cowboys to get back on track.

The Vikings continue to struggle in nearly every phase of the game, save for special teams.  With lingering quarterback issues, Minnesota’s season is quickly going down the drain and there were serious trade rumors floating around about top defensive end Jared Allen prior to the deadline this week.  Christian Ponder was re-inserted as the starter last week against the Packers and was just 14 of 21 in passing with no touchdowns.  On several of his throws, NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth was pointing out obvious reads that Ponder flat-out missed.  When Josh Freeman is cleared to play again, I would assume he will take over the starting duties.

In Dallas, they have some problems of their own.  Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was very animated towards his coaches and teammates during Sunday’s game.  While most have come forward and said that it was a healthy display of passion and desire to win by Bryant, the facial expressions and body language suggested sheer frustration.

A loss to Minnesota would be a huge setback to the Cowboys quest to win the East.  The following week, Dallas plays at New Orleans on Monday night.  After that, the Cowboys have their bye and then games at the Giants and home against the Raiders.  Dallas should win three of their next four, but “should” and “will” are not always friends.

28

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

The opening kickoff made it look like the Minnesota Vikings would have a shot to upset the Green Bay Packers in teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, as Cordarrelle Patterson raced 109 yards for a touchdown.

But from then on, it was all Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense moved the ball up and down the field with ease throughout the game. Despite having Myles White as his No. 3 receiver and Andrew Quarless as the starting tight end, Rodgers threw for 285 yards and a pair of scores to go along with just five incompletions.

His two touchdowns–both to Jordy Nelson–were perfect. There’s no other way to put it, really. Rodgers zipped the ball right past the defender’s earhole on each throw, leaving the defender with no chance at deflecting the pass.

After the first scoring connection from Rodgers to Nelson, I tweeted, “If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I’m putting an ongoing loop of that throw on a projection screen. Maybe in every room of my house.” And I meant it.

Then, after Nelson’s 76-yard score, I, again, wanted share my admiration. However, I just couldn’t seem to think of the words. It was simply another perfect throw by one of the best quarterbacks in football.

That touchdown, ironically, reminded me of Rodgers’ crucial third-down dart to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Jennings, now with quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and the Minnesota Vikings, was targeted three times Sunday night and only caught one pass for nine yards.

It’s safe to say that, while wealthier, Jennings is not having a lot of fun wearing purple this season. And that’s nothing against the color.

Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I think it’s worth revisiting the unwritten rule that you can’t compare white wide receivers to anyone other than white wide receivers. Nelson isn’t Eric Decker or Ed McCaffrey. He’s not Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker.

The guy is every bit of 6’3″ 217 pounds. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world, but he does everything you could possibly ask a wide receiver to do, and he does it well.

27

October

Packers vs. Vikings – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 44 MIN 31

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings:  2013 Game 7

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

The 1-5 Vikings host the 4-2 Packers in the teams’ first meeting of the season. Though the Packers have rebounded from a slow start and fight through a number of injuries to key starters, the Vikings just seem to be in shambles. Christian Ponder will start today after recently-signed Josh Freeman took the nod last week. Greg Jennings will want to light up his former team, especially after all of the controversial sound bites, and Adrian Peterson will want to get back to form after rushing for a total of only 90 yards across the past two games. On the other side of the ball, James Starks is back to possible spell Eddie Lacy in the ground game, while the Packers defense looks to maintain their dominance at the line.

Today’s captains for the Packers: - C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith, DT Johnny Jolly, K Mason Crosby.

 

Inactives for today:

The following players have been declared as inactive for tonight’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
25 CB James Nixon
52 LB Clay Matthews
53 LB Nick Perry
59 LB Brad Jones
82 TE Ryan Taylor
88 TE Jermichael Finley
89 WR James Jones

Starting lineup changes: 81 Andrew Quarless will start at TE in place of Finley, 11 Jarrett Boykin at WR for J. Jones, 96 Mike Neal at OLB for Perry, 55 Andy Mulumba at OLB for Matthews, and 57 Jamari Lattimore at ILB for B. Jones.

Minnesota Vikings
12 QB Josh Freeman
27 CB Shaun Prater
40 FB Rhett Ellison
44 RB Matt Asiata
60 G Jeff Baca
83 WR Rodney Smith
91 DT Chase Baker

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Recent success in Metrodome: Communication, verbal and visual. Have to be able to overcome it, especially in big situations.

Rivalries for fans vs. players: Players and coaches still feel rivalry. Not beneficial to get involved in emotions of it. Need to play emotionally, mentally disciplined.

Finley’s health: He’s getting better. Testing is still going on. No timetable at this point.

Bush, Hayward returning: Always want them involved on special teams. How Vikings play will determine Hayward’s participation.

James Starks returning: Would like to get him involved tonight.