The Call: Vikings vs. Green Bay

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2012 - 9:44 PM
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The Packers have the NFL's reigning MVP playing quarterback for them in Aaron Rodgers, and he could very well be the difference between victory and defeat for the Vikings.

Photo: Mike Roemer, Associated Press

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One man's prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 21: The Vikings (9-6) have every reason to believe they can hang around and perhaps pull the surprise that will push them into the playoffs. But the Packers (11-4) have one big reason to feel superior: Aaron Rodgers, the reigning MVP, who has 20 TD passes and only four interceptions in nine starts against the Vikings.

Record player

It will take a monumental effort -- 208 yards to be exact -- for Adrian Peterson to set the NFL's single-season rushing record. But Peterson did erupt for 210 yards against Green Bay four weeks ago, busting off big-gain runs of 82, 48 and 23 yards. So, yeah, Eric Dickerson should remain on call for a potential congratulatory message. Said Peterson, "Deep down inside I feel like I'll get it."

'Top priority'

 

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams has stressed all week the need to "not let the top off the defense." Which means the Vikings will structure their coverages to limit Green Bay's explosive downfield passing plays. They did a decent job of that four weeks ago with Rodgers needing 41 dropbacks to throw for 286 yards. "There weren't any coverage busts, any times where we gave them cheap plays," Williams noted. "So you take some solace in that. But still, we gave up too many points."

What happened?

 

A frustrating 23-14 loss at Lambeau Field four weeks ago could have been the torpedo that sunk the Vikings' playoff ship. Instead, they drew encouragement from their effort and camaraderie and aimed to immediately clean up their costly mistakes. The aftermath: three consecutive convincing victories that have heightened the team's confidence. "We knew we left a few game-changing plays out there in Green Bay," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "And this season when we've played right and true, everyone has seen how good we can be."

MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH

Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews vs. Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil

About Matthews The USC product has 12 sacks in 11 starts and was named this week to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl.

About Kalil The USC product anchors a line that has given up 31 sacks (13th in the NFL) while opening holes for 161.1 rushing yards per game.

Who has the edge? Kalil. Only once this year has Kalil truly felt like a rookie -- against Chicago's Julius Peppers, who the left tackle admits opened his eyes with quickness, smarts and an array of moves. Matthews presents a different challenge in Green Bay's 3-4 defense, but the rookie should hold his own.

THE BIG NUMBER

12 Consecutive NFC North games won by Green Bay, dating back to a 7-3 loss to Detroit on Dec. 12, 2010. Rodgers has a 22-6 career record as a starter in division games.

BREAKOUT DAY?

Jarius Wright, Vikings: If an upset bid is to materialize, the Vikings might need a spark from the versatile rookie. Wright had five catches for 53 yards plus an 8-yard, end-around run in last week's win in Houston.

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Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
NY Mets 8 FINAL
Washington 3
LA Angels 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
Texas 6
Oakland 6 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Indiana 107 FINAL
Milwaukee 111
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Carolina 5
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Washington 3
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Nashville 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
NY Rangers 5 FINAL
Ottawa 1
Florida 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
Montreal 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Colorado 4 FINAL
Vancouver 1
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
North Carolina 72 FINAL
Wisconsin 79
Evansville 89 FINAL
Louisiana 82
West Virginia 39 FINAL
Kentucky 78
Xavier 60 FINAL
Arizona 68
St Johns 55 FINAL
Villanova 63
NC State 79 FINAL
Temple 80
Missouri 55 FINAL
Michigan 65
Oral Roberts 64 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Duquesne 39 FINAL
West Virginia 60
Ole Miss 70 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 82
Northern Colorado 60 FINAL
UCLA 74
St Marys-CA 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 69
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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 NoonX13-9

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