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Vikings, Packers File Injury Reports

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 28, 2009 – 3:35 pm

The Vikings and Packers submitted the first injury reports of the week on Wednesday, and there is a lot to weed through.

The Vikings had 10 players on their injury report, but the Packers topped that with 12 players on theirs, including 2 players who’ve already been ruled out of Sunday’s game.

We’ll start with the Vikings, where 4 players sat out of practice. They were: WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), LB E.J. Henderson (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (foot) and DT Jimmy Kennedy (not injury related).

Limited in practice for the Vikings were QB Brett Favre (hip), LB Jasper Brinkley (hamstring), LB Ben Leber (calf), CB Karl Paymah (quad), WR Darius Reynaud (hamstring) and FB Fahu Tahi (knee).

For Green Bay, FB Kory Hall (calf) and WR Jordy Nelson (knee) are listed as out. Nelson is listed as the Packers primary return man, so expect CB Tramon Williams and RB Brandon Jackson to see turns in the return game.

Held out of practice for the Packers on Wednesday were TE Jermichael Finley (knee), S Derrick Martin (hamstring), OL Jason Spitz (back) and C Scott Wells (not injury related). Limited players in practice included T Chad Clifton (ankle), LB Clay Matthews (jaw), QB Aaron Rodgers (foot), T Mark Tauscher (knee), CB Charles Woodson (hip) and DE Jarius Wynn (hamstring).

Notable developments in the Packers injury report include the fact that Clifton, who has been sideline for the past couple of games and also missed the Week 4 contest between Minnesota and Green Bay, was back on the practice field. It’ll also be interesting to see if Spitz and Wells resume their normal practice routine as the week goes on.


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Rivalry Will Be Re-Kindled At Lambeau

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 28, 2009 – 2:42 pm

Packers fans will use their hands and voices to make Lambeau Field an inhospitable place for the Vikings on Sunday as the 2 teams renew for the 2nd time this season their division rivalry. The crowd was very much a factor in Week 4′s Vikings victory over Green Bay, and the Vikings realize that this week the tables will be turned in Green Bay’s favor.

“It’s a hostile environment,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Wednesday. “It’s akin to going to [Pittsburgh]. It’s noisy. You do the best you can to make them sit on their hands.”

The best way for the Vikings to quiet down the Lambeau faithful will be to establish the run and balance that out with an efficient passing game.

“If you do well, you have a tendency to calm it down,” Childress said. “When you don’t (do well), business picks up. As I always say, no one is coming out of the stands. It’s won’t be like the Colosseum; it won’t be interactive, aside from the noise.”

Even if the Vikings get off to a good start, don’t expect the crowd to go away easily. As beloved as QB Brett Favre was while wearing green and gold, he’s just as reviled now by many Packers fans now that he’s wearing purple and gold.

Sunday’s game represents the 98th meeting between Minnesota and Green Bay, tied for the most times the Vikings have faced an opponent. The all-time series is almost a wash, with Green Bay holding a 49-47-1 edge, but the Vikings have won the last 2 games and have narrowly outscored the Packers 568-564 over the past 24 games.

All of that deep-rooted history, along with Favre’s return to Lambeau, make for a game that is highly-anticipated and will elicit extreme emotion from the fans in attendance.

“It’ll be a great arena for football,” Childress said of Lambeau Field. “And it’s a natural rivalry as it stands. I don’t think there’s a lot of gas that’s got to be thrown on that fire. And then all the circumstances…much like before the first game (at Minnesota).”


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Submit Your vikings.com Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 28, 2009 – 11:35 am

Have a question or comment about the Vikings? Or how about a question regarding this week’s game against the Packers? Send your questions/comments to the vikings.com Mailbag.

You can submit your questions/comments to me by sending an email to wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. I can’t post every question/comment, but I’ll answer them all.

The vikings.com Mailbag is published ever Friday during the regular season


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Vikings And Packers Deal With Key Injuries This Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 28, 2009 – 11:02 am

Both the Vikings and Packers will prepare for each other this week with questions surrounding a key member of their starting lineup. The Vikings will continue to assess CB Antoine Winfield’s status as he recovers from a foot injury and the Packers will be watching LT Chad Clifton’s recovery from a sprained ankle that has sidelined him since October 18 and that caused him to miss the October 5 game against the Vikings.

By definition, all starters are key members of the lineup. But given the results of their earlier matchup this season, there’s no denying the affect Winfield’s absence has on the Vikings and Clifton’s absence has on the Packers. Winfield led the Vikings in tackles with 9 and added an interception against Green Bay in Week 4. In that same game, the Packers were without Clifton and they gave up 8.0 sacks, including 4.5 to Jared Allen.

The Vikings defense, and specifically the secondary, played well without Winfield against the Steelers last week. QB Ben Roethlisberger was held to just 175 yards passing and the Steelers offense accounted for just 13 of the team’s 27 points. But you can be certain the Packers offensive staff is watching film of last Sunday’s game in an effort to combat the adjustments the Vikings defense has made in Winfield’s absence.

The status of Winfield and Clifton will be uncertain all week, with it being unlikely that either player will practice before Friday, if at all this week. Both teams are required to submit daily injury reports but they aren’t required to estimate the players’ chances of playing until after Friday’s practice.


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Hype Won’t Alter Favre’s Approach

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 28, 2009 – 8:20 am

Although the NFC North implications of this game are as significant as it can get for a Week 8 contest, I submit to you that the #1 storyline this week leading up to Sunday’s Vikings-Packers game will be QB Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field. And that’s not really going out on a limb, I realize that.

We all know the background – Favre called Lambeau home for 16 years, won 3 MVPs, won a Super Bowl and broke every significant passing record. Then the ugly divorce, a trade to New York and now his union with the Vikings. Sunday will mark Favre’s homecoming to Lambeau and the Packers would love nothing more than to send him home with a loss.

And Favre, being the competitor that he is and having the pride that he has (and should have), would love nothing more than to march into Lambeau with his teammates and win in the face of the venom that will be spewed in his direction. But with all the emotion that he’ll feel, with the tension and anticipation that will be palpable, and with the pressure that will mount, I think Favre will play his game and won’t fly off the handle in Lambeau.

I point to his body of work this season as reason why Favre won’t alter his approach or mode of operation for this highly-anticipated game at Lambeau. Let me explain…

His 1st game after signing with the Viking was a preseason contest at home against Kansas City. He was 1 for 4, had no turnovers and handled everything smoothly.

His 1st regular season game with the Vikings was a road game at Cleveland. He wasn’t trying to be Superman. A simple 14 of 21 for 110 yards, 1 TD and no INTs.

The home opener – Favre was everything the Vikings needed, going 24 of 46 for 301 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT (on a tipped pass). That was the dramatic, game-winning TD toss to Greg Lewis. Yes, it was dramatic, but Favre didn’t have an out-of-body experience where he deviated from the game plan and played like a maverick. He took the game as it came to him and did what his team needed him to do – nothing more, nothing less.

Game #1 against the Packers. Just as this week will progress, the week leading up to that game was just as hyped. His 1st game against his former team, on Monday Night Football, as the leader of an undefeated team. Once again, Favre was what his team needed. Calm, collected and efficient, going 24 of 31 for 271 yards and 3 TDs, with no INTs and a 135.3 passer rating.

With all of that as evidence, I see no reason to believe Favre will alter his approach this week, or have an out-of-body experience on Sunday where he tries to be the hero and deviates from the game plan.

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, who is always cognizant of when one of his players goes up against a former team or plays a game in his home town, indicated on Monday that he’s not concerned about Favre altering his approach, even subconsciously, for this game.

“I am sure that there will be a lot made of it,” Childress said. “But he’s weathered the one event and I know that he’ll prepare just like he prepared for them four weeks ago.”


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Setting The Table For Green Bay

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 28, 2009 – 7:17 am

The Vikings will conclude a rigorous 3-game pre-bye stretch of games this Sunday by heading to Lambeau Field for their 2nd contest of the season against division and border rival Green Bay. The game marks the return of QB Brett Favre to the stadium he called home for 16 seasons.

When the Vikings and Packers kick it off on Sunday at 3:15, it will have been less than one month since their previous meeting and the Vikings will be coming off 2 consecutive tough games against physical AFC North foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh, while the Packers are coming off games against the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns in the previous 2 weeks.

The hype surrounding this game will be largely centered on Favre’s return to Lambeau and the 2nd matchup against his former team and predecessor Aaron Rodgers. But don’t allow that to overshadow what’s actually important about this game – NFC North ramifications.

The Vikings enter this week’s contest off a loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday, but with an opportunity to take full control of the NFC North with a win. A Vikings victory on Sunday in Lambeau would improve their record to 7-1 overall, 3-0 in the division, 5-0 in the NFC and it would give them a season sweep and tiebreaker priority over the Packers.

The Vikings defeated Green Bay earlier this season at home and a season sweep of their rivals this year would be the 1st since 2005; it would also give Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress a 3-game winning streak over Green Bay, a team he lost to 5 straight times to from 2006-2008.

But Green Bay enters this contest with incentive to win, too. They are riding a 2-game winning streak out of their Week 5 bye and a win on Sunday would improve them to 5-2 and place them just 1 game behind the Vikings in the division standings. And let’s not kid ourselves, the organization and its fan base would love nothing more than to welcome Favre back to Lambeau and then send him back to Minnesota with a loss.

Speaking of Favre, we mentioned yesterday the matchup he has with Rodgers this week because it’s similar to the one he had with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger last week. Both Favre and Rodgers enter Week 8 as top-rated passers in the NFL and atop several other statistical categories. Their performances on Sunday will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the game.

There are other intriguing storylines, however, and we’ll get into all of them throughout the week here on the vikings.com Blog. But we’ll leave you with just a few statistical nuggets to chew on while we work on more updates for the blog.

Consider…

– The previous 24 matchups in this series have been remarkably even, with a combined score of 568-564 in favor of the Vikings. The average scores of those games have been 23.7 (Vikings) and 23.5 (Green Bay).

– The Packers currently rank 1st with a +10 differential while the Vikings are tied for 4th with a +7 differential.

– With a passing TD, Favre will have more TDs (13) than any Vikings QB over the past 4 years. His 12 TDs right now are tied with Gus Frerotte’s 12 in 2008.

– The Vikings and Packers have one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, with Green Bay holding the all-time series lead 49-47-1. This will be the 98th matchup between the teams, tied for the most the Vikings have played against any opponent in the league.


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