One man’s prediction: The Vikings QB carousel continues as Christian Ponder gets his second chance. Ponder will be the team’s third different starter in three games. He has vowed to play more relaxed and more confidently, but the Vikings offense has been a mess. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has had more success against the Vikings than any opponent, and that should continue.
Ponder had the best game of his career in the 2012 regular-season finale against the Packers to propel the Vikings into the playoffs. He passed for 234 yards and three TDs and finished with a career-high 120.2 rating. Ponder has endured a range of emotions the past month with his rib injury, benching and now his second chance as the starter. He said he feels more relaxed this time. If he can duplicate his performance against the Packers last Dec. 30, the Vikings’ QB saga could become even more intriguing.
Adrian Peterson admitted this week that he has run hesitantly the past two games because of nagging hamstring tightness in his right leg. The reigning MVP had only 23 carries combined in losses to Carolina and the Giants. Peterson said his hamstring feels better, and he’s no longer worried about running with his usual burst. The Packers are stout against the run, but Peterson has had success against them.
The Vikings are ranked 29th in pass defense and are missing their best player in the secondary, safety Harrison Smith. That doesn’t bode well as they prepare to face a quarterback who has achieved historic success against them. Aaron Rodgers’ career passer rating of 116.4 against the Vikings ranks No. 1 in league history vs. a single opponent. The Vikings defensive line needs to generate a relentless pass rush to help out its secondary.
MANO-A-MANO: A MATCHUP TO WATCH
Today: Vikings DE Jared Allen vs. Packers LT David Bakhtiari
Allen posted a career-high 4.5 sacks against the Packers on a Monday night in 2009 and has 17 career sacks against them, the second most by any player against Green Bay in league history.
Became the first Packers rookie since 1985 to start at left tackle in the season opener. A fourth-round pick, Bakhtiari was the only rookie in the league to start at left tackle in Week 1 this season and has started all six games.
Allen leads the Vikings with four sacks and 15 quarterback hurries. The Packers probably will give Bakhtiari extra help, so Allen faces a tough task in getting pressure on Rodgers.
THE BIG NUMBER
1,541Adrian Peterson’s career rushing yards against the Packers. Peterson has played 12 regular-season games against the Packers, giving him a 128.4-yards-per-game average.
Greg Jennings, Vikings: Jennings (24 catches for 327 yards and two TDs) faces his former employer for the first time. He made some unflattering comments about his former QB but admitted this week that he regrets some of those comments. We’re guessing the Vikings get Jennings involved early.