The Packers have several high-profile players dealing with injuries leading up to this week’s game against the Vikings. LB Clay Matthews is trying to nurse a hamstring injury back to health, DBs Sam Shields and Charles Woodson may not play, TJ Lang has moved from LG to RT to replace the injured Bryan Bulaga, and star WR Greg Jennings is looking to return from a groin injury.
There’s another member of the Green and Gold who may not play this week, and while he doesn’t have as high a profile as the others listed above, he is an important piece of the Packers puzzle. His name is C.J. Wilson, a starting DE for Green Bay who specializes in stopping the run. Wilson was a 7th-round pick out of East Carolina University in 2010. He’s played in every game but two over the last three seasons, and along the way has been a key player in the DL rotation; he’s started 7 of the 10 games he’s played in this season.
Wilson has been all but ruled out by Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy, meaning someone else on Green Bay’s defensive line is going to have to step up on Sunday when the NFL’s best RB comes to town.
“We’re going to miss C.J. He’s a real good run player,” fellow DE Ryan Pickett explained. “I think he gets overlooked. A lot of times he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He can play the run real good.”
And so can the Packers. Known more for an opportunistic and playmaking defense, the Packers are actually very good against the run. They rank 11th in rushing yards allowed (103.8 per game) and 15th in yards per carry allowed (4.1), but they’re tied for 5th-fewest runs of 10+ yards allowed and they’ve allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season.
The absence of Wilson comes at an inopportune time for Green Bay, with Adrian Peterson coming to town on Sunday. Peterson is the NFL’s leading rusher by 172 yards, he has six 100-yard games this season (including 5 straight) and he’s averaging an incredible 5.8 yards per carry. The silver lining for Green Bay is the fact that they’re accustomed to overcoming injuries. If GM Ted Thompson and McCarthy can find a key cog in their run-stuffing defensive line with a 7th-round pick, they can also likely find a way to patchwork something together for this week. The question is, will it be enough?
We’ll find out on Sunday.
Tags: Adrian Peterson
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