Scoggins: Primary problem: Too little in secondary

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2011 - 6:41 AM

Missing three starters in the defensive backfield is no way to take on Aaron Rodgers and Co.


Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a pass over Vikings defensive end Brian Robison during the first half of Green Bay's 33-27 victory Sunday.

Photo: Andy King, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings' best cornerback was not in uniform Sunday because of a neck injury. Their second-best cornerback was sitting in jail a few blocks away. And Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense were salivating on the opposite sideline.

Not exactly a dream scenario. On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of difficulty, we'll put it at 146.5, which was Rodgers' final passer rating.

It's tough enough trying to contain Rodgers and Co. at full strength. The Vikings were forced to do so shorthanded without three key players in the secondary.

Antoine Winfield missed his third consecutive game because of a neck injury. Chris Cook remained jailed after being arrested on assault charges early Saturday morning. The Vikings also were without starting safety Jamarca Sanford because of a concussion.

That was a recipe for disaster. Rodgers inflicted his usual damage, but it was more surgical than spectacular -- with the exception of one home run play.

Rodgers shredded the Vikings for three quarters until the defense managed to steady itself in the fourth. But the damage was done, and the Packers were able to milk the clock late to earn a 33-27 victory at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.

"We had to do a little bit of adjusting," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "The guys who had to step up did a good job."

Rodgers orchestrated the Packers offense with such precision early in the game that he looked like he might set a number of NFL passing records. He completed his first 13 passes, threw for 314 yards through three quarters and capitalized on a major blunder by the Vikings secondary to flip momentum to the Packers sideline.

The game took a U-turn in the fourth quarter as the Vikings rallied, which kept Rodgers' final numbers from being too bloated. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns, but he expected more, considering the circumstances.

"I kind of thought we might throw it a little bit more actually with Cook and Winfield out and them playing some guys who might not get a ton of playing time," Rodgers said. "I thought we'd maybe throw it a little bit more, but the way that the game was flowing in the first half, with us not getting a lot of possessions, kind of hindered us from not having a ton of passing attempts. But I think we were pretty efficient throwing it."

The Vikings had to adjust on the fly in the secondary. Winfield was listed as doubtful, so they had prepared for his absence. But Cook's arrest gave them 24 hours to alter the game plan.

The Vikings expected to employ a dime package against the Packers' four- and five-wide-receiver sets. Marcus Sherels was set to be that extra defensive back. But with Cook unavailable, the Vikings had to shelve that alignment because Sherels was thrust into the nickel back role with Asher Allen filling Cook's spot in the starting lineup.

"Any time you lose your starting corner on a Saturday before a game, it's going to be a scramble to get things right," linebacker E.J. Henderson said. "But next man up. I thought Marcus Sherels did a great job in there."

The Vikings won't admit it, but it had to be a little unnerving going that deep in the depth chart against that offense. Rodgers is masterful at his craft, maybe the best in the game right now, and he's an equal opportunity thrower when it comes to utilizing his receivers. He keeps plays alive with his feet and has pinpoint accuracy.

"Watching [Rodgers] on film, it's like he's unstoppable," Sherels said.

Especially when he's presented a gift. Rodgers' easiest completion was his most important, a 79-yard touchdown strike to Greg Jennings on the second play of the second half. Safety Husain Abdullah's blown assignment left Jennings wide open and allowed him to jog to the end zone, giving the Packers the lead for good.

"You can't really point fingers because we're a whole," safety Tyrell Johnson said. "When one messes up, all of us mess up."

Even on a day when the whole was smaller than normal.

Chip Scoggins •

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Denver 7:30 PM
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Denver 6:00 PM
Portland 7:00 PM
Utah 7:00 PM
Toronto 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Nashville 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 51 2nd Half 7:16
Bradley 40
Brown 60 2nd Half 5:45
Central Conn St 46
Stetson 38 2nd Half 10:00
Florida State 46
Ill-Chicago 35 2nd Half 7:13
Northwestern 45
Ohio 34 2nd Half
George Washington 43
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Elon 21 1st Half 8:08
Kennesaw St 26
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Penn State
Green Bay 3:30 PM
UC Irvine
DePaul 3:30 PM
Lewis & Clark 4:00 PM
SC State 4:30 PM
Abilene Christian
Manhattan 5:00 PM
Truett-McConnell 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Citadel 5:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Ohio 5:00 PM
Ohio State
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Idaho 5:00 PM
Northern Ky
Fairfield 6:00 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:00 PM
Mercer 6:00 PM
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Columbia 6:30 PM
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
UAB 7:00 PM
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Furman 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Grambling St 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Penn 7:00 PM
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Boise State 9:30 PM
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
BYU 21 2nd Qtr 4:55
Memphis 24
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 48 2nd Half 9:35
Ohio State 67
UMBC 68 2nd Half 7:32
MD-Eastern Shore 57
Cornell 61 2nd Half 9:06
Loyola-Maryland 41
St Bonaventure 53 2nd Half 7:48
Georgetown 53
New Hampshire 34 2nd Half 8:51
Northeastern 51
Eastern Washington 32 2nd Half
Florida 27
Rice 24 1st Half 8:30
Texas Southern 16
Butler 3:05 PM
Illinois State
UC Davis 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Washington St 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Sacramento St 4:00 PM
San Jose St
SIU-Edwardsville 4:30 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(14) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:05 PM
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Hampton 7:00 PM
Florida State 7:00 PM
Murray State 7:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question