Webb had practice time to prepare for playing Green Bay

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 12:30 AM
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Joe Webb was flushed out of the pocket by Packers defensive tackle Mike Neal in the fourth quarter.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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GREEN BAY, WIS. - Joe Webb was prepared to play Saturday night. The Vikings backup quarterback knew throughout last week that Christian Ponder was dealing with significant tightness and soreness in his right elbow. So as Ponder tried to rest his elbow and remained limited in practice, Webb took most of the reps with the first-team offense during the team's Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices.

Still, that didn't lessen the peculiarity of Webb's start at Lambeau Field. For starters, Webb became the first quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game having not thrown a pass during the regular season. In fact, Webb was on the field during the regular season for all of three snaps -- a kneel-down and two handoffs in the final two minutes of the Vikings' 30-7 victory over Tennessee in Week 5.

In Saturday's 24-10 loss to the Packers, Webb went 11-for-30 for 180 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also added 68 rushing yards and had a fumble.

"We tried to hit them with some different plays, tried to switch it up," Webb said. "It was a learning experience for the coaches as well as the players."

Webb's last start as a quarterback came in the 2010 season finale in Detroit. He was 20-for-32 for 145 yards and ran for 35 yards in a 20-13 loss.

His last NFL start came in Week 13 last season against Denver -- as a wide receiver.

At long last

After their opening drive ended in a field goal -- the fifth consecutive game they scored on their first possession -- the Vikings offense stalled.

The Vikings finally scored their only touchdown with 3:39 left when the Packers completely blew coverage and left Michael Jenkins standing all alone on the right side of the field. Webb drilled a throw to Jenkins, who enjoyed an unchallenged and leisurely stroll into the end zone for a 50-yard score.

"Probably the easiest touchdown I've ever had," Jenkins said.

Another 12th man

Jasper Brinkley might have been the Viking caught sprinting to the sideline when the field goal block unit was flagged for having 12 men in the huddle in the third quarter. But Brinkley was designated to count the Vikings on the field, a role that requires him to sprint off if there are too many out there.

"We needed to get one of our defensive ends off the field," coach Leslie Frazier said. "We had two defensive ends on the field that play the same position."

That penalty was arguably the most costly of the four flags the Vikings drew Saturday night. It came on fourth-and-4 with Green Bay's Mason Crosby lining up for a 32-yard field goal. Instead, the Packers received a first down at the Vikings 9 and completed the drive on the next play with a 9-yard TD catch by John Kuhn.

Kuhn's score gave Green Bay a 24-3 lead.

Who was that guy?

The Packers may have found a true diamond in the rough in diminutive running back DuJuan Harris, who was at his speedy best early on. Harris, listed at 5-8, 203 pounds, touched the ball on eight of the Packers' 14 first-quarter plays, totaling 52 yards and scoring the game's first touchdown. That came on a 9-yard run that included a swift cutback.

Harris arrived in Green Bay for the first time as a practice squad player in October and was later promoted to the active roster as the Packers searched for backfield depth. He didn't see his first NFL action until Week 14. Yet in his first playoff game, he totaled 100 yards from scrimmage (47 rushing, 53 receiving).

Winfield plays

Cornerback Antoine Winfield fought through the pain in his fractured right hand as best he could. Winfield started and never aggravated the injury but admitted afterward the sturdier soft cast he wore to protect the hand made it more difficult to jam receivers.

"The way my hand was in the cast, it wouldn't bend all the way back," Winfield said. "So my hand placement was kind of off."

He finished with four tackles.

Winfield, 35, has completed his 14th season in the league and has one year left on his contract. He said he plans to be back in 2013.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I've got to get 15 in. That's a good number."

Allen faces surgery

Defensive end Jared Allen said after the game that he will have surgery on his right shoulder to correct a torn labrum, the first surgery of his career.

Peterson held in check

After rushing for 409 yards on 55 carries in two regular-season games against Green Bay, Adrian Peterson never could find his groove Saturday night. The Vikings were forced to turn more to their passing attack, and Peterson finished with 99 yards on 22 carries.

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