Childress Underscores Vikings-Packers Rivalry, NFC North Race

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2010 – 4:34 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was born and grew up in Aurora, Illinois, right in the heart of Chicago Bears country. A life dedicated to football has traveled him all over the country, from Indiana to Arizona to Pennsylvania, and he’s been a part of many great rivalries as a result.

After 3+ seasons as head coach of the Vikings, Childress clearly understands the magnitude of his team’s rivalry with the Green Bay Packers.

“Green Bay Packers week for us here,” Childress said during his regular Wednesday press conference. “Always a big week when you play a Divisional opponent that’s a state-border war. Had two great games with them last year and they always are competed tooth and nail.”

Childress’ Vikings team had trouble with Green Bay early in his tenure, but lately it’s been a one-sided affair, with the Vikings currently in the midst of a 3-game winning streak in the series. Many of the players on both teams are well-versed in the rivalry, too. As is the case with most division opponents, the familiarity the 2 teams share impact how the games are played.

“You can say familiarity breeds contempt, however you want to say that or however people want to motivate themselves,” Childress explained. “We know that this game’s competed a little bit differently than most of your NFC games. We’re mindful of that.”

Aside from adding to the history of this historic rivalry, Sunday night’s Vikings-Packers game will have a great impact on the 2010 NFC North race. The Vikings come in with a 2-3 record and in 3rd place in the division while Green Bay is 3-3 and sitting in 2nd place, a game behind division-leading Chicago.

The NFC North race is wide open, largely because of what happened last weekend. The Bears, Detroit Lions and Packers all lost, while the Vikings – who had been 1-3 – scratched out a victory over the Dallas Cowboys. As a result, the North is wide open…just as we should’ve expected at this point in the season.

“About like you expected it to be,” Childress said when asked about the division race. “Every year kind of swinging its own way. I know every week paints a different picture, but it’s there to be competed for and fought for. That’s why this game is a hugely important game.”

Did You Know?
– The Vikings currently hold a 166-123-5 record (including postseason) against the NFC North.
– The Vikings are 354-275-9 against the entire NFC in both regular and postseason play.
– Minnesota is 1-0 against the North and 2-1 against the NFC in 2010.
– The Vikings are 10-3 against the NFC North since 2008

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Vikings, Packers Issue Injury Reports

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2010 – 2:55 pm

We’re in the middle of the regular season, and the injury reports submitted by the Vikings and Packers on Wednesday afternoon clearly indicate that. The Vikings have 10 players listed on their report and Green Bay did 2 better, listing a grand total of 12 players on theirs.

For the Vikings, 3 of those 10 players sat out of practice – S Husain Abdullah (concussion), TE Jim Kleinsasser (groin) and CB Lito Sheppard (hand) – while the 7 others were limited. For full details on the Vikings injury report, click here.

For Green Bay, DE Mike Neal (shoulder) and LB Brady Poppinga (knee) have already been listed as out for Sunday night’s game. The following players were held out of Wednesday’s practice: S Nick Collins (knee), WR Donald Driver (quad) and LB A.J. Hawk (groin). There were 6 players who were limited in practice – LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder), T Chad Clifton (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), DE/NT Ryan Pickett (ankle) and T Mark Tauscher (shoulder).

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Childress Updates Status Of Injured Vikings

Posted by cjsiewert on October 20, 2010 – 1:23 pm

As the NFL has made a point to deem “devastating blows” unacceptable and worthy of distributing hefty fines for such hits, it’s a reminder to coaches, players and fans alike how violent the sport of football can be at times. And with a violent sport comes injuries.

The Vikings –not unlike any other team in the league – have dealt with the injury bug on many different levels. But 3 key players were pointed topics in head coach Brad Childress’ Wednesday press conference.

Vikings regular starting C John Sullivan has been plagued with a nagging calf injury since training camp and his participation has taken a hit as a result. Both backup Cs Ryan Cook and Jon Cooper have seen time in place of Sullivan, but Cooper eventually landed the replacement role.

After Childress’ press conference, it seems as if Sullivan is making strides towards getting back into the starting position but isn’t ready for an entire game.

“Right now I would say that would be a tag-team deal,” Childress said of Sullivan and Cooper’s playing time. “We’re going to rep those guys equally in practice and see how Jon comes along. As you here me say often, it’ll be how he comes back tomorrow and how he feels, but both those guys are going to take snaps in there, he and Cooper.”

Another unit that’s dealt with injuries is the secondary. CB Cedric Griffin is out for the season with a torn ACL while rookie Chris Cook is currently dealing with a knee injury. On top of the injuries to those 2 key CBs is Vikings starting S Husain Abdullah, who encountered a head injury against the Dallas Cowboys. Abdullah’s timetable to return isn’t clear, especially with the league taking extra precautions regarding head injuries.

“As of right now, I’m foggy on it as is he foggy,” Childress acknowledged of Abdullah’s return. If Abdullah is unable to return, Childress said he’d take a look at both Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford.

Perhaps the most anticipated return from injury is that of WR Sidney Rice, who is rehabbing from hip surgery. Rice was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list prior to the season, barring him from play until Week 7. Although Rice could be removed from the PUP list this week to play against the Packers, the Pro Bowler still has a ways to go before he can step onto the field with full certainty that his hip has healed.

When asked if Rice was at a point where he could participate with the team, Childress simply acknowledged, “he’s not.”

“He still going through his treatment,” Childress said. “At such time he can get out there, then we have to declare that. Then he’s got three weeks from that point when he’s physically out there practicing, taking practice turns. Now, he can do some land training. Whether it’s walking, whether it’s jogging on the turf or on the grass, but we’ve got three weeks from when we feel like he’s able to come back and practice, but we have to take a look at him. And you know there’s football shape and there’s conditioning shape.”

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Vikings Offense Must Contend With LB Matthews

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2010 – 12:03 pm

The Green Bay Packers bout with the injury bug so far in 2010 has been well-chronicled, but it appears they’ll have one of their best defenders back in the lineup when the face the Vikings on Sunday night in Lambeau Field. Matthews injured his left hamstring in Week 5 against the Washington Redskins and was sidelined for last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins, but reports indicate he’ll be back in the lineup this weekend.

Packers CB Charles Woodson was the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year and he continues to be a key player for Green Bay, but it’s Matthews who has been just as valuable this year. In his 2nd season out of Southern Cal., Matthews is a versatile defender who is equally good playing the run and the pass and he’s also an effective pass rusher; he has 8.5 sacks already this season in 5 games played, including 3.0 sacks in both Week 1 and Week 2.

“He’s really developed into a nice edge rusher,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Wednesday. “He can move speed-to-power, he’s got long levers and he’s playing as an outside linebacker but he bounces a little bit; they move him around and rush him on different sides.”

In players such as Percy Harvin or Randy Moss, the Vikings offense features targets that opposing defenses must identify on a play-to-play basis. Failure to do so often results in big plays. With Matthews, the Packers defense has a similar weapon.

“You have to account for him,” Childress explained, “whether you’re calling him a linebacker or a stand-up defensive end, at times he’s two different things to us. He’s a good player; he can overpower a running back or a tackle.”

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Vikings-Packers Series Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2010 – 10:02 am

The Vikings have begun on-field preparations for their contest against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. They are in a walk-through right now, which will be followed by lunch and practice later this afternoon.

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and QB Brett Favre will hold their weekly press conferences beginning around 11:30 this morning, so be sure to tune in to to watch those live. Also be sure to check back here on the Blog periodically because I’ll be blogging all day about this huge NFC North showdown.

In the meantime while you’re waiting for all of that to appear here on the website, checkout some of these Vikings-Packers series notes…

– The Vikings and Packers have one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, with Green Bay holding the all-time series lead 49-48-1.
– This will be the 99th matchup between the teams, tied for the most the
Vikings have played against any opponent in the league.
– The Vikings-Packers previous 25 games (1998-2009), which includes the first playoff matchup between the two squads in 2004, have been remarkably even with a combined score of 606-590 in favor of Minnesota. The average scores in those games have been 24.2 and 23.6, respectively
– Childress has won his last 3 games against Green Bay.
– Vikings QB Brett Favre will make his second appearance on the opposing team sideline at Lambeau Field after spending 16 seasons with Green Bay. Favre became the first player to defeat all 32 teams when he beat the Packers last season.
– The Vikings have a 25-23 record against the Packers at home and are 23-26-1 on the road.
– The two teams have gone to overtime 5 times throughout the series with the only tie coming in a 10-10 deadlock on 11/26/78. The 5 OT games are the most by the Vikings against any single opponent.

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Winter Park Wednesday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2010 – 8:47 am

Our friend Paul Allen, voice of the Vikings Radio Network, hosts a daily radio show from 9-noon on AM 1130 KFAN and today’s he’s broadcasting live from Sports Authority Studios at Winter Park.

PA is calling it “Winter Park Wednesday” and is excited about being on the inside as the Vikings kickoff preparations for this weekend’s showdown with the Green Bay Packers. Hopefully this becomes a weekly ritual for him.

Here’s a photo of PA inside of Sports Authority Studios at Winter Park, just before going on the air.

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Harvin To Be Named NFC Special Teams Player Of The Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2010 – 7:30 am

Percy Harvin’s game-changing 95-yard kickoff return TD against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday will earn him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for games played last weekend.

With his team trailing 14-7 to start the 2nd half, Harvin dashed through the Cowboys coverage unit to notch the TD and begin a 2nd-half surge that saw the Vikings score 17 of the game’s final 24 points and come away with a 24-21 victory over Dallas. For the game, Harvin had 3 kickoff returns for 134 yards and the TD.

This will be the second time Harvin has earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, with the first coming in Week 3 of last year when he had 4 kickoff returns for 180 yards, including a 101-yard TD in the 3rd quarter. Harvin is the only Viking in team history to
record more than 1 kickoff return for a TD and he now has TD returns of 101, 95 and 88 yards. Harvin has also tied David Palmer for the most return TDs (kickoff and punt combined) in club history with 3.

In 20 career games, Harvin has 58 returns for 1,591 yards (27.4-yard average) and 3 TDs. He has 38 returns of 20+ yards and 7 of 40+ yards. Harvin and the Cleveland Browns Josh Cribbs are the only players in the past two years to have 3 KO return TDs.

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