Five keys to the game

  • Updated: January 5, 2013 - 3:17 PM

FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

Can Ponder repeat?

It’d be asking a bit much for Christian Ponder to repeat his brilliance from last Sunday’s win in such a pressure-packed road playoff game. Ponder and the Vikings haven’t trailed much at all since leaving Lambeau Field on Dec. 2. This time, they’ll be stuck playing from behind. Can they respond?

Where’s Antoine at?

Now finishing his 14th season, Antoine Winfield has played six career playoff games. Whether he can add a seventh to that log will be a big deal. Still dealing with significant pain and swelling in his fractured right hand, Winfield will wear a sturdier soft cast this week and his availability will be a major X-factor in the Vikings’ attempts of slowing Green Bay’s passing attack. After Winfield left last week’s game late in the second quarter, the Packers piled up 318 passing yards and 27 points on their final six possessions.

Walsh finding his range

One of the most critical moments Saturday will come during pre-game warm-ups when Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh tests his range in the cold winter air of Lambeau Field. Walsh was 10-for-10 from 50 yards or longer during the regular season. But only two of those bombs came outdoors – a 51-yarder in Indianapolis in Week 2 and a 55-yarder at Seattle in Week 9. Before Saturday’s game, Walsh will have to test not only his range but his cleats for footing and the direction of the winds. It’ll be a key moment for the Vikings in determining their scoring range.

Griffen an emerging force

At the end of 2011, the Vikings were convinced they needed to find ways to better take advantage of Everson Griffen’s athleticism and playmaking ability. A Mankato experiment at linebacker bombed. But the Vikings then found plenty of opportunity to use Griffen as both a defensive end and tackle. Last week he delivered three big sacks, the latest signs, Jared Allen says, of Griffen’s increased understanding of the game. “That,” Allen said, “is what separates good players from average players and great players from good players.”

The big guns

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the favorite for this year’s MVP and has torched Packers for 409 rushing yards and three total TDs this season. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the reigning league MVP has torched Vikings for 651 passing yards and five TD passes this season. This sure looks like a high-stakes battle between the NFL’s best running back and its best quarterback. The nighttime chill at Lambeau may suit the Vikings’ running game better. Peterson has averaged 7.4 yards per carry against the Pack this season.

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Chicago WSox - WP: R. Belisario 7 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Soria 4
Colorado - LP: P. Hernandez 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 3
St. Louis - WP: S. Miller 6 FINAL
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 2
Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez 4
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 1 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: R. Webb 0
Seattle - WP: J. Beimel 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 5
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 1
Minnesota - LP: C. Thielbar 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Toronto - WP: A. Sanchez 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 5
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
Arizona - WP: O. Perez 7
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 2
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Atlanta 85 FINAL
Tulsa 75
Phoenix 67 FINAL
Minnesota 75
New York 74 FINAL
Chicago 87
Indiana 76 FINAL
Seattle 67
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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