- What I’ll Be Watching
- Not Yet
- Weakened & Worried
- The Deets
- So Much For Continuity
- Best All Around Back
More often than not, Brett Favre shines on the national stage. He’s excelled against his former team. He’s always played well in his former house. And he’s good under duress. The Packers secondary is a mess and their linebacking corps is beat up. The Vikings offense started to click during the second half last week against the Cowboys. It sorta feels like Favre is primed for a big game.
Randy Moss has not had the blow up game I’ve hoped for. It was probably too much to ask of a recently-arrived receiver who defensive coordinators consistently account for with double- and triple-teams; who is unfamiliar with the Vikings playbook; and who has had no reps with his new quarterback.
But as far as coming out parties are concerned, Moss could do no worse than tonight’s game against the Packers, who served as his foil during his rookie year and during his entire time with the Vikings. Let’s hope it happens again.
Adrian Peterson. The weather report says rain in Green Bay today. Lots of it. Like 80% precipitation during the day and 60% tonight. If the conditions limit the passing game, then the Packers, who are pretty bad against the run (21st in the league), should expect to get Peterson All Day and that, in turn, could help open things up for some shots downfield to Randy.
The Packer’s attention to Moss and Peterson should help open things up for Visanth(e) Shiancoe, so don’t be surprised if Shank has a very big game.
Offensive Backfield. Who will be our fullback this week? Will Tahi sit again? Will we see Jim Kleinsasser and Jeff Dugan back there again?
Whoever’s back there, whether it’s fullback or running back, will they be able to pick up the blitz? Remember Albert Young‘s failure to do so? Adrian Peterson‘s hit and miss game in blitz pickup?
This week should be easier in that regard: Just make sure you know where Clay Matthews is.
Ray Edwards will match up against Packers rookie right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who has two starts under his belt and gave up three sacks against Cameron Wake last week and two sacks against Brian Orakpo the week before. Edwards will feast on Bulaga.
Jared Allen had as good a game as you can without recording a sack last week. Allen will get his chips and double-teams again this week, but if Edwards can create some havoc on the opposite side, that might take some attention away from Allen.
Asher Allen. The Vikings front four better be able to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers because the match up between Allen and Packers receiver Greg Jennings does not favor the Vikings. Allen is an improvement over Lito Sheppard, based on what we’ve seen of Sheppard so far, but he’s at that point in his career where he’s still learning and is going to get picked on. Jennings is a deep threat and, given our weakness at the safety position, look for Rodgers to take some shots downfield.
Given all the factors, the Packers’ ill health, their lack of a running game, the weather conditions, the Vikings awesome defense, the Percy Harvin X-factor, and the potential explosiveness of the Vikings offense, this is a game the Vikings should win.
Sidney Rice was eligible to be taken off the PUP list yet was not. Rice has not yet started practicing with the team. So we wait. Safety Husain Abdullah will sit out this game after recovering from a concussion.
The Packers decided not to activate cornerback Al Harris (knee) and safety Atari Bigby (ankle) from their own PUP list. Defensive end Mike Neal and linebacker Brady Poppinga are out and likely headed to IR. Guard Marshall Newhouse is doubtful.
The Pack will have linebacker Clay Matthews back, which sucks.
But the Packers depleted secondary, coupled with Charles Woodson‘s sub-par play this year, should bode well for the Vikings passing game. Their overall ill health will greatly benefit the Vikings; they are having horrible luck this year.
Kickoff at Lambeau Field is at 7:20 PM CST tonight and will be carried by KARE 11 with Chris Collingsworth and Al Michaels in the booth. Unfortunately, Joe Buck will not be there to enjoy Randy Moss‘ performance. KFAN will carry the game locally on radio.
Chicago hosts Washington at noon on Fox.
SO MUCH FOR CONTINUITY
With the exception of the first play from scrimmage, when center Jon Cooper whiffed (ouch–how do you whiff on a nose tackle??) on Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff, Cooper played a solid game.
But Bob Sansevere and Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press have Brad Childress saying that Cooper will “spell” John Sullivan, who will start.
What is that all about?
Is Sullivan not conditioned enough to play the whole game? If so, should he be playing at all? Much more importantly, with this offense having blocking problems and simply getting on the same page, with Brett Favre having fumbled some snaps this year, don’t we want to establish some continuity between the quarterback and center as much as possible?
BEST ALL AROUND BACK
That would be Chris Johnson, according to Marshall Faulk. Johnson is more productive on third downs than Adrian Peterson. I know I said I was sick of hearing about this feud, but as third-party endorsements go, I can’t let this one go unobserved. Gotta agree with Faulk with hope that one day Peterson will become the all-around back he’s capable of becoming.