Vikings had no answers against Favre

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 30, 2007 - 11:33 PM

Even knowing what the Packers were going to do didn't help them stop Green Bay's great quarterback.

Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier knew exactly what Green Bay's offense planned to do Sunday. Frazier also realized the Packers did not care that he was aware they were going to put Brett Favre in the shotgun, use multiple-receiver sets and throw often.

With the Vikings having had problems against the pass and being one of the NFL's top teams vs. the run, Green Bay's pass-first, run-later attack of 2007 wasn't about to change.

"You see what they did to their prior two opponents [the Giants and Chargers] and you say, 'Hey, you've got to come up with some answers,'" Frazier said. "We did some good things, but there were a couple plays in the game where you wish we had done a little bit better."

Frazier spoke shortly after the Packers' 23-16 victory. The plays were Favre's 16-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in the first quarter and the 33-yard strike to James Jones in the final quarter.

Green Bay rushed only 20 times, and Favre attempted 45 passes. He completed 32 for 344 yards with no interceptions. The Packers' 338 net passing yards were 21 less than the Lions had in a Week 2 victory over the Vikings.

Unlike the game in Detroit, the Vikings used far more than just the nickel package in which cornerback Marcus McCauley replaces linebacker Ben Leber in passing situations.

For the first time this season, the Vikings had three down linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs on the field at the same time. In the second quarter, Frazier had three linemen, two linebackers and six defensive backs with cornerback Charles Gordon in the mix. The strategy did not work as Favre completed a 36-yard pass to Ruvell Martin, who was covered by cornerback Cedric Griffin. That was the only time that package was employed.

"We prepared for them pretty well, and knew what they were going to do," said Sharper, whose first-quarter interception of his former teammate was wiped out by a penalty. "When you throw the ball 40 to 50 times you are going to get some yards."

Both scoring throws appeared to come at McCauley's expense. The first came on a Favre audible when he hit Jennings on a goal-line post route with McCauley a step behind. The second was a perfect pass to Jones, who caught the ball around the 20-yard line and went down the sideline to score with McCauley in pursuit. Ideally, McCauley would have jammed Jones as he came off the line of scrimmage.

"I tried to push him out of bounds," McCauley said. "But Brett Favre made a great throw. It surprised me that he threw that one. It just went right by my head. He makes unbelievable throws."

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