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Fractured clavicle means Winfield will miss rest of season

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER and MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • November 15, 2011 - 6:13 AM

GREEN BAY, WIS. - Antoine Winfield's return lasted all of one game.

After missing four games because of a neck injury, the Vikings cornerback was eager to play Monday night. Instead, things took a turn for the worst with Winfield fracturing his clavicle in the second half of a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers, a season-ending injury that further depletes the Vikings' thin secondary.

Winfield was playing for the first time since suffering a neck strain at Kansas City on Oct. 2. He had five tackles, all solo, including one sack, on Monday. He saved a big gain on third-and-8 in the second quarter when he tripped up Greg Jennings after a 6-yard gain, forcing a punt.

Winfield, 34, is in his 13th NFL season and eighth with the Vikings. A Pro Bowl selection in each of the past three seasons, he has battled injuries at times in recent years. He started all 16 games in 2008 and 2010, but in 2009 he missed six games because of a foot injury, and in 2007 he also missed six games because of an injured pectoral muscle.

In addition to Winfield's injury, safety Husain Abdullah suffered a concussion Monday and couldn't finish the game. Abdullah's replacement, Mistral Raymond, later had to leave the game because of cramping.

Rodgers motors along

Aaron Rodgers is on quite the hot streak. The Packers quarterback has completed 72.8 percent of his passes for the season and is averaging 98 pass attempts between interceptions. His worst quarterback rating in a game this season: 111.4, in a 10-point victory over Chicago in Week 3.

Monday night, Rodgers finished with a rating of 140.3. He was 23-for-30 for 250 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

Ballard starts

Rookie Christian Ballard made his first career start at nose tackle, a move Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made hoping to get more pressure up the middle against the Packers passing attack. Remi Ayodele started the first eight games but is more of a run-stopping specialist. Ballard finished with three tackles.

Catch 28

Adrian Peterson's early involvement in the passing game Monday night? It was nonexistent. The Pro Bowl running back was held without a catch. That came after he had posted a career-best 76 receiving yards in the Vikings' previous game, a 24-21 victory at Carolina.

Against the Packers, Peterson was targeted only once, on a frantic first-half shovel pass from rookie Christian Ponder. Peterson dropped the ball when he was hit by linebacker Desmond Bishop.

Points aplenty

Green Bay came into Monday's game leading the NFL in scoring, averaging 34.4 points in their first eight victories. The Packers bumped that average up to 35.6 by scoring a touchdown on each of their four second-half possessions, not counting the kneel-down to end the game.

The Packers have fewer punts (28) than offensive touchdowns (34) this season. They had two punts Monday night to five offensive touchdowns.

A leg up

Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell has made 42 of his 352 career field goals on Monday nights. Longwell is the third-most-prolific kicker on Monday night behind former Viking Gary Anderson (51 field goals) and Jason Elam (50). Longwell also had made 129 field goals at Lambeau Field.

Longwell could have added to all those totals Monday, but he missed his only attempt, a 52-yarder. He had made 10 consecutive attempts from 50 and beyond before that miss, one short of Tony Zendejas' NFL record.

The attempt was originally 47 yards, but Fred Evans got a false-start penalty, negating what would have been a successful kick.

Etc.

• Vikings defensive end Jared Allen continued his sack streak, sacking Rodgers for 9 yards on first-and-goal from the Vikings 9 in the second quarter. Allen has a sack in every game this season and 13 1/2 sacks in all, reclaiming the NFL lead by a half-sack over Dallas' DeMarcus Ware. Allen finished with seven tackles Monday, second on the Vikings to Chad Greenway.

• The Vikings converted only five of 14 third downs, and four of those came in the first half (on nine attempts).

• Packers coach Mike McCarthy has scored a season sweep of the Vikings in four of his six seasons (2006, '07, '10 and '11). The Vikings swept the series in 2009; both teams won at home in 2008.

• Pat Brown replaced Vikings left tackle Charlie Johnson in the second quarter when Johnson suffered a hand injury.

• The loss was the second-worst by point margin in the Vikings' regular-season history. The Vikings lost 51-7 to San Francisco in 1984 for the worst loss.

• Vikings quarterback Joe Webb had his first NFL reception, a 9-yarder from Ponder in the third quarter.

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