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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