Sunday, December 30, 2012
Quick Take: Vikings at Packers
By Kevin Seifert
Five things to know about next Saturday's Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers wild-card playoff game at Lambeau Field:
1. History: The Vikings and Packers have been twice-yearly opponents since 1961, but this will be just their second-ever meeting in the playoffs. The Vikings won the first, a 31-17 victory in the 2004 wild-card round at Lambeau Field. For cultural context, you might recall it was the infamous "Moon over Lambeau" game in which then-Vikings receiver Randy Moss pretended to moon the crowd after scoring a touchdown.
2. Peterson Factor: It's safe to say the Packers will spend this week working on a better gameplan for stopping Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson. In two regular-season games this season, Peterson rushed for 409 yards and accounted for three touchdowns against them. Including receptions, Peterson averaged 7.4 yards every time he touched the ball against the Packers' defense.
3. Packers RB? Peterson will get most of the attention this week, but you wonder if the Packers will stick with the hot hand and start DuJuan Harris in a playoff game. Harris had a strong effort Sunday, totaling 70 yards on 14 carries after Ryan Grant managed two yards on his two carries. Former starter Alex Green did not play a snap.
4. Winfield's status: One of the biggest question marks this week will be the condition of Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, whose departure from the game at halftime Sunday coincided with the Packers' offensive surge. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns after halftime, completing passes of 73, 45 and 30 yards along the way. Winfield is trying to play with a broken right hand that was noticeably swollen after the game. He pledged to play Saturday for as long as he can tolerate the pain. Sunday, he did so for half of the game. The Packers torched his replacements.
5. Just in time: The Packers finished Sunday with a number of questions at receiver. Randall Cobb did not play because of a sprained ankle and Jordy Nelson was limited by a hamstring injury. But Greg Jennings' best game of the season gives the Packers hope that their top receiver has finally rounded into form after a season's worth of injury problems. Jennings caught eight passes for 120 yards and doubled his season's total of touchdowns from two to four.