24

October

Packers vs. Vikings: 5 Observations from Green Bay’s 33-27 Win in Minnesota

Photo: Tom Lynn, Journal Sentinel

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was near perfect in throwing for 335 yards and three touchdowns, and his defense made just enough plays to keep Vikings rookie Christian Ponder from pulling off one of the more improbable upsets in the history of the rivalry as Green Bay beat Minnesota, 33-27, Sunday at the Metrodome.

Here are five observations from the game:

1. Minnesota has their QB

The final stats (13-for-32, 219 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) were far from Rodgers-like, but it certainly looks like the Vikings have found themselves a young, franchise-type quarterback in Christian Ponder. Unlike most rookies making their first NFL start, Ponder kept his poise, made plays with his legs and converted 9-of-16 third downs.

His first touchdown throw was more a result of blown coverage from the Packers than an elite play from Ponder, but credit the Vikings for opening the playbook right out of the gates and catching the Packers sleeping. He made the throw rolling to his left and without his feet set. Ponder looked his best early on rolling out outside on bootlegs, but he made plenty of big throws from the pocket, including a 24-yard TD strike to Michael Jenkins that cut the Packers lead to just seven points with 7:49 left. He also had third down completions to Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe and Greg Camarillo that extended drives. The two interceptions he threw were rookie mistakes and directly contributed to Minnesota falling down 16 points. But the Vikings’ brass has to feel good about their decision to take Ponder with the 12th overall pick last April. At the very least, he gives the Vikings a chance to compete in a division that has three established starting quarterbacks.

2. Same story

“Adversity football” is a term that coach Mike McCarthy loves throwing around, but it was needed again Sunday. With just 1:02 gone from the first quarter clock, the Vikings had already taken a 7-0 lead and given their crowd something to be loud about.  The offense didn’t blink on its ensuing possession, as Rodgers hit six different receivers and led the Packers on a 9-play, 91-yard drive that tied the game. It was the kind of drive we’ve come to expect from the Packers offense no matter what the score or venue.

23

October

Packers vs. Vikings – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 33 MIN 27

Photo by Tom Lynn, JSOnline.com

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings:

Here is my unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions. Personally, it’s good to be back home after three straight weekends out of state, although I’m not going to complain about being in Green Bay last week. ( #Throwbackweekend )

The Packers come to Minnesota today looking to get the Christian Ponder era off to an inglorious start.  The big matchup to watch will be Marshall Newhouse trying to block NFL sack leader Jared Allen. While Chad Clifton has always had good success handling Allen, when the task has been put in the hands of backups, the results have been much different. Rodgers need to be looking out for his blind side today.

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Inactive for the Packers today are:

Shields ,Francois, Zombo, Lattimore, Clifton, Neal, Dominguez.

Today brings the first active duty today for OLB Vic So ‘oto, a fan favorite in preseason. So ‘oto figures to fill in for Lattimore on special teams and might see a spot appearance or two at OLB in pass rush situations.

Bad break for Frank Zombo, who finally made it back from his scapula injury last week, only to suffer a hyper-extended knee. As has become the Zombo custom, he finished out the game, but now needs to sit down to allow proper recovery.

Hopefully, Sam Shields has learned his lesson from the incredibly bad notion he had to run around with the ball in the endzone. I’m actually glad he got his bell rung there, otherwise, he may have tried that silliness again. Now, I don’t think he will.

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Vikings’ reversal of  fortunes: It’s still early in the season. Our focus is to get another division win on the road.

Favre not involved: Nothing has changed for us, it’s always been about the Vikings and the Packers.

Adrian Peterson: Adrian’s a tough back to tackle. He breaks a lot of tackles can get the ball to the outside and cut it back. Have to gang tackle and take some shots at the ball.

Harvin: I believe Percy Harvin is the best football player on their team. Dynamic player who can hurt you in many ways.

Ponder: Christian is an athletic, smart young man. I think they’re going to move him around.