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Jared Allen: No run defense lapses

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER
  • Star Tribune
  • November 11, 2011 - 6:28 AM

The memory is fresh for Jared Allen. After all, it occurred only 19 days ago. With 2:30 left in the Vikings' last meeting with Green Bay, Allen and the defense took the field with a straightforward directive: get a stop and get the ball back.

Down six points, the Vikings had three timeouts plus the 2-minute warning on their side. Instead, with six consecutive running plays that netted 55 yards, the Packers ran the clock out, sealing a 33-27 victory by testing the Vikings' strength and beating it.

"That was embarrassing for us," Allen said Thursday. "We hang our hat on that. ... That's something that did not sit well in our stomachs. And we need to get back to being more dominant on that front."

Sure, slowing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be the top priority Monday. Yet staying disciplined against the run remains key.

The Vikings rank fifth in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 94.4 yards per game. Green Bay's 114 yards in Week 7, with nearly half coming on that final series, marks the third-highest rushing total the Vikings have given up this season.

Two weeks ago, Carolina piled up 140 yards on the ground, a season-worst for the Vikings defense.

Injury update

Nothing like a week off to restore a team's health. At Thursday's practice, Anthony Herrera was the only player inactive. The right guard is still recovering from a lateral collateral ligament injury in his left knee. But even that prognosis registers as a bright spot. When he suffered his knee injury in Week 7 vs. the Packers, the Vikings initially feared he had further damaged the same anterior cruciate ligament he tore late last season.

Now, Herrera is being evaluated day-to-day.

Said coach Leslie Frazier: "Our trainers are telling me he's making progress, so we'll see if he can get out this week and try [practicing] at all."

The only other player listed on Thursday's injury report was Antoine Winfield, a full participant who said his neck is back to 100 percent. Monday, the cornerback will play for the first time since Oct. 2.

Made of Clay

Wondering about the ordinary statistics of Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews? Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has his answer for why Matthews has only three sacks at the midway point of the season after recording 13 1/2 last season and 10 in 2009.

"People are game-planning around him," Shiancoe said. "If you don't, he's definitely going to be a game-breaker. You don't want him to be loose out there. He will definitely cause havoc within your offense."

The three Packers defenders Shiancoe said the Vikings pay closest attention to: Matthews, cornerback Charles Woodson and nose guard B.J. Raji.

Matthews, dealing with minor knee soreness, sat out Green Bay's practice Thursday.

Tough enough

With temperatures dipping into the 30s, rookie Christian Ponder still practiced Thursday in shorts with no long sleeves. Said quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson: "I told him if he comes back with the sniffles, enough of the tough-guy routine."

Ponder hails from Texas and played his college ball at Florida State. So was Thursday's attire a show of toughness or just ignorance of the Minnesota climate?

"We'll find out [Friday]," Johnson quipped.

The forecast for Green Bay on Monday night is temperatures in the high 30s and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Etc.

• Ryan Longwell's career accuracy at Lambeau Field on field goal attempts: 129-for-156, a conversion rate of 82.7 percent. Longwell played nine seasons in Green Bay and has kicked in 82 career games at Lambeau, including playoffs.

• The Packers are on pace to accumulate 6,662 total yards this season, which would break the old franchise mark of 6,357 set in 2004. Their 6.74 yards-per-play average leads the NFL.

• The Vikings are 17-5 following their bye week. They are 26-28 on "Monday Night Football."

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