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Highlights From Move-Out Day At Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 8, 2013 – 8:50 am

Move-out day in the Vikings locker room at Winter Park is a bitter-sweet experience. It typically follows a disappointing conclusion to the season because only one team each year in the NFL finishes the season having accomplished their ultimate goal. Unfortunately, this year the Vikings will not be that team.

But move-out day also represents a time for players to get away, spend time with family and loved ones, and recharge their batteries for the offseason program and for the upcoming season.

On their way out the door, several Vikings players took a few moments to chat with reporters about what transpired this season and what the future might hold for this team in 2013 and beyond. Here are a few highlights from a few of the guys…

Jared Allen
On what Adrian Peterson meant to the Vikings: “What Adrian did this year, I mean it’s inspiring. Not even just on a football level, just on a level of commitment. I think he’s a true example of never letting someone put limitations on you. So many people said he couldn’t do it, and he proved them wrong. It’s just like that in life. You can’t let people put limitations on what you want to do and what you want to achieve. And for him to be a walking testament to that is awesome. For that, it was an inspiring season from him.”

A Rookie Kicker?: “Blair had an unbelievable season. I’ll be the first one to say, you get a rookie kicker and you’re like ‘Ah crap, here we go. We let one of the best in the League go in Longwell, and how’s this guy gonna fit? Is he going to choke the very first opportunity he has to make a pressure kick?’ You know what, he was incredible.”

Adrian Peterson
No wow factor: “No, I didn’t at all. I didn’t wow myself. This is what I expected. I know that sounds nonchalant, like ‘Oh, I’m sure you did.’ But I did. That’s why I’m able to take things as it is. But I feel like there’s room for me to get better, and I look forward to doing that.”

Standout moment of 2012: “Just getting back to practicing with the guys. That was the best feeling. To be kind of bummed out once I actually got back to training camp and found out they put me on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, I was kind of bummed out. But once I got back on the field with the guys and was able to participate, that felt good. There was nothing like it. And just coming back in September for that first game in the dome against the Jaguars, that was a defining moment for me. That felt good.”

Who should be named NFL Coach of the Year?: “Leslie Frazier, without a doubt. He’s a great guy, he’s helped me on and off the field. He’s demeanor, spiritual faith, just the man that he is. He radiates positive energy…you can’t help but feed off of him. He has really been a big part of my development, not only as a football player but as a human being. He’s very inspirational.”

Christian Ponder
What did you learn in 2012?: “That I can do the things to help this team be in a position to be successful. And not just me, but this whole team can handle the pressure of what it takes to get to a playoff berth. We knew that if we lost (vs. Green Bay in Week 17) we wouldn’t make it. So just to handle that pressure as a whole team, especially with how young we are, I think that showed a lot. I need to play at that level consistently for sixteen games. I’ll learn from that, and use what I did in those games to work on next year.”

Anticipating improvement: “We were able to get into the playoffs, but next year I expect to, I made a pretty good leap from first year to second year, I expect an even greater leap from the second year to the third year.”

John Sullivan
Success begins at the top: “Our GM (Rick Spielman) has done a great job. Rick’s done a great job with his vision. Building a young roster, guys who are hungry and want to work hard. And having good veteran leadership. I think we’re definitely a team on the upswing. Obviously we’re still disappointed, the loss (to Green Bay) is pretty fresh. We didn’t accomplish our ultimate goals, but we made huge strides, and as long as we go about our business the right way this offseason, rest up right now while it’s time to do that, get healthy and come back ready to work once the offseason program starts, we’re definitely a team on the upswing.”

Harrison Smith
What did you like about being in the NFL?: “I just like the chemistry of the team. Every guy on the team is a guy that you want to play with, and guys that you have fun playing with and can count on. It seems like with the guys we have here, the leadership we have with the coaches, the front office, things are going in the right direction.”


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Adrian Peterson Named FedEx Ground Player Of The Year Finalist

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2013 – 4:19 pm

The NFL announced on Monday that Adrian Peterson is a finalist for FedEx Ground Player of the Year honors. Peterson rushed his way into the history books, finishing the season with 2,097 yards rushing, 2nd -most in league history and just nine yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s NFL record (2,105).

Peterson, who was second in the NFL in carries (348), tied Earl Campbell for the most games with at least 150 rushing yards in a single season (s7) and he scored 12 rushing TDs as well. From Week 7 through Week 15, Peterson accumulated 1,313 yards in 8 games, the most over any 8-game span in a single season in NFL history.

Selected as the NFC’s starting running back for the 2013 Pro Bowl, Peterson was nominated for FedEx Ground Player of the Week 7times, winning 3times. Peterson was named FedEx Ground Player of the Year in 2008.

Joining Peterson as finalists for the award are: Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Washington’s Alfred Morris.

Also, the NFL announced that New England’s Tom Brady, Denver’s Peyton Manning and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers have been named FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx until Friday, January 25 at 8 p.m. CT to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year.

During the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, FedEx plans to announce the 2012 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year in New Orleans, as well as make a $25,000 donation in each winning player’s name to Junior Achievement offices in the their city. The funding is used to help U.S. small business development, by educating the next generation of entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their own businesses.

This season, fans voted for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program and its commitment to small business owners, FedEx supported education efforts at Junior Achievement by making weekly $2,000 donations in each of the winning players’ names.


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Vikings Season Ends With 24-10 Playoff Loss At Lambeau

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 6, 2013 – 2:33 am

The Vikings did a lot of things right while winning their final four games of the regular season to advance to the postseason. But they ran out of magic on Saturday night at Lambeau Field, falling to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 24-10 while playing without their starting QB.

Christian Ponder injured his arm in last week’s win over the Packers and was unable to play Saturday night. Joe Webb started in place of Ponder, but he and the offense were unable to muster any momentum until it was too late. Webb opened the game nicely, driving the Vikings 53 yards in 10 plays to take an early 3-0 lead. From that point on, though, the offense struggled to stay on the field.  The following four drives all ended in punts for the Vikings, and at halftime they had just 97 net yards and were 2 of 8 on 3rd downs.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, was his usual self and paced his team to the victory, the first home postseason win of his career. Rodgers was 23 of 33 for 274 yards with 1 TD on the night, seemingly always finding the open receiver at the biggest moments and always staying away from the back-breaking mistake.

It was the Vikings who made the mistakes. Green Bay’s first TD of the game came on a drive that was kept alive by a 3rd-down offsides penalty against the Vikings. Then Green Bay’s second TD of the game came one play after the Packers were awarded a 1st down via penalty on a FG attempt because the Vikings were flagged for having 12 men on the field. On top of those two TD-yielding mistakes, the Vikings also turned the ball over three times and forced zero turnovers of Green Bay.

After the Vikings took their early 3-0 lead, both teams exchanged punts. That’s when the offsides penalty against the Vikings led to Green Bay’s first score, an 8-yard TD run by RB DuJuan Harris that capped an 11-play, 82-yard drive. The teams traded possessions after that, and eventually Green Bay kicked a 20-yard FG after a stout goal line stand by the Vikings defense. Green Bay led 10-3 at that point, but they extended their lead to 17-3 thanks to a late 1st-half TD run by FB Jon Kuhn.

Green Bay opened the 2nd half with the ball and bookended their TD late in the 1st half with another TD early in the 2nd half, this one a TD reception for Kuhn from 9 yards out to make the score Green Bay 24, Minnesota 3. That’s all the scoring Green Bay would generate, but that’s all the scoring Green Bay would need. The Vikings turned the ball over on their next two possessions – a Webb fumble and then a Webb INT – and then a muffed punt by Marcus Sherels at the start of the 4th quarter only made matters worse.

The Vikings eventually got on the board with a TD when Webb found a wide open Michael Jenkins along the right sideline for a 50-yard score. A failed onsides kick gave Green Bay possession at their 20 and they were able to run all but 19 seconds off the clock from there.

Adrian Peterson finished the game with 99 yards on 22 carries, modest numbers for a runner that racked up 409 yards rushing against the Packers in 2 regular season games this season.

The loss ends what was a successful season for the Vikings. They were a 3-win team just a season ago, and their jump up to 10 wins this season marks the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history. There is a lot upon which this young Vikings team can build going into 2013, and that process will commence almost immediately at Winter Park now that their postseason run has concluded.


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A Few Final Pre-Game Thoughts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 5, 2013 – 5:55 pm

Lambeau

The anticipation and build-up is nearly over. Game time is approaching. The 3rd matchup in 5 weeks between the Vikings and Packers is upon us, and this one means everything. It’s just the 2nd postseason game ever between these two clubs. It’s win or go home.

I’ll be joining the Vikings Radio Network pre-game show about 40 minutes before kickoff to help the guys preview this game. Prior to me joining the show, all the main subplots will surely be addressed. Do the Vikings have an answer for Aaron Rodgers? Do the Packers have an answer for Adrian Peterson? How will Joe Webb play as the team’s starter? So my focus will be on some of the other subplots in this game – subplots that may not be talked about as much, but will still have an impact on this game.

Here’s a sneak peak of what we’ll talk about when I join host Mike Mussman on the Vikings Radio Network…

– We saw the Vikings defensive coaching staff draw up creative game plans to defeat St. Louis and Houston. They used zone blitzes, linebacker pressures and defensive back blitzes to generate pressure on opposing passers. What can Leslie Frazier’s staff do tonight to Green Bay that represents a new wrinkle?

– A big part of the Vikings defensive effort will be Antoine Winfield’s inclusion. He will be key to defending the pass, but I think he’s a huge part of defending the run, too. The Vikings don’t want to let Green Bay run the ball. Rodgers is good enough the way it is, if Green Bay can keep the Vikings off-balance, look out.

– Matt Kalil vs. Clay Matthews. This was a good matchup last week. Whenever these two are lined up across from one another, it’s a fun one to watch. I thought Matthews had the edge early in last week’s game, but then Kalil settled down and the Vikings were able to operate without Matthews blowing things up.

– Ball control and field position important for the Vikings. The Vikings did win a shootout over this explosive Packers team last week, but I don’t expect the Vikings to initiate a shootout tonight. I think the Vikings would benefit from a lower-possession game, a game that is a battle over field position and a game in which points are at a premium.

– The Vikings kickoff and punt coverage groups leaked yardage last week. That can’t happen tonight. The Packers are good enough offensively. To give Rodgers and Co. a short field tonight will make for a long night.

– The two X-factors tonight are Everson Griffen for the Vikings and Charles Woodson for the Packers. Griffen had 3.0 sacks in last week’s win over Green Bay and he has a career-high 8.0 sacks this season. Green Bay must find a way to block him. Woodson returns to action from a broken collarbone tonight. He’s missed 9 games because of the injury, but now he’s ready to go. The guy is a future Hall of Famer, so the Vikings must be aware of him.


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Peterson, Walsh Named NFC Players Of The Month

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 3, 2013 – 10:55 am

There are many reasons why the Vikings were able to construct the most successful single-season turnaround in franchise history this season, going from 3 wins in 2011 to 10 wins in 2012. A 4-0 record over the final quarter of the regular season was a big reason, and that strong finish would not have been realized without the effots of Adrian Peterson and Blair Walsh.

The NFL put the pieces together quite well today, naming Peterson as the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for December and naming Walsh as the Special Teams Player of the Month for December.

Peterson
During the month of December, Peterson led the League with 135 carries and had an NFL record for rushing yards in a month with 861. He was also tied for 3rd with 5 rushing TDs. The 6th-year player out of Oklahoma eclipsed the 200-yard mark 2 times while setting a new career long rush of 82 yards on 2 separate occasions during the month. Remarkably, this is the first time Peterson has won a player of the month award. He is the first Viking to receive the offensive award since Brett Favre in November of 2009. Along with this honor, Peterson has been named the NFC Player of the Week 2 times in 2012, Week 7 and Week 14.

Walsh
Walsh, a rookie out of Georgia who was named to the Pro Bowl, connected on 11 of 12 field goals (91.7%) and was a perfect 14 of 14 on PATs over the month of December. His FGs included a perfect 5 of 5 from 50+ yards, as he set an NFL single-season record in 2012 with 10 field goals from that range. Walsh kicked the Vikings into the playoffs in last week’s win over Green Bay, converting a 29-yard attempt as time expired. His 3 field goals from 50+ at St. Louis on 12/16/12 also set a new single-game NFL record. Walsh tied a team-record 56-yard field goal against the Houston Texans on 12/23/12. He also finished tied for 2nd in the NFC with 12 kickoff touchbacks in the month of December. His 47 points over the month ranks 3rd in the NFL.


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Jared Allen Provides Leadership, Perspective As Postseason Looms

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 3, 2013 – 7:36 am

The performance of young players on the roster has been a vital part of the Vikings success in 2012. Rookies Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith and Blair Walsh have been outstanding performers week-in and week-out. Everson Griffen registered a career-high 8.0 sacks this season. Kyle Rudolph was 2nd among all NFL TEs with 9 TDs. Christian Ponder played his best game in the season’s biggest moment.

But now, with a postseason matchup against Green Bay just two days away, a few Vikings veterans are stepping up to the plate to provide leadership and perspective to the entire team.

Jared Allen, who had a sack of Aaron Rodgers in last week’s win and has registered 16.0 sacks in 11 games against the Packers, is one of the leaders equipped to set the postseason tone.  Since arriving in Minnesota via trade in 2008, Allen has helped the Vikings reach the playoffs 3 times in 5 seasons. In that time, he has been one of the team’s most productive players as well. His 12.0-sack season in 2012 gives him 6 straight seasons of 10+ sacks, and 5 of those seasons have come as a Viking. Only one player (DeMarcus Ware – 77.5) has more sacks than Allen’s 74.0 since 2008, and no NFL player has more sacks than Allen’s 117.0 since he entered the League in 2004.

On Wednesday while meeting with reporters, Allen was asked what his memories were of the last time he appeared in a postseason game – the NFC Championship Game following the 2009 season.

“I thought I was going to the Super Bowl, then that got ripped away from us. So, bad memories I guess, because we lost, but still it’s fun, that will always be a game that I cherish,” Allen acknowledged. “It helps you realize how important this opportunity is. I think that is what we have been trying to convey to the guys that haven’t been to the playoffs, the young guys on the team, is that this opportunity doesn’t come around often.

“This is my ninth year in the league and this is I think my fourth playoff appearance, so the odds of getting back aren’t certain and they aren’t always skewed in the positive direction. So guys take advantage of this opportunity. The cool thing about the playoffs is that once you get in anything can happen. You see it happen all of the time, teams make runs and end up winning the Super Bowl.”

Adrian Peterson offered a similar message when asked about the loss in the NFC title game.

“Well, it definitely wasn’t good memories,” Peterson said. “One game away from the Super Bowl and you lose, so I don’t ever want to have to relive that feeling again.”

Asked if he thought it would take this long to make a return to the postseason, Peterson was candid.

“I didn’t at all,” he said. “That’s why you really can’t take things for granted because making it to the post-season is extremely hard.”

Peterson is in the prime of his career. He’s not a young buck anymore, but he hasn’t been around as long as some of his senior teammates such as Allen, Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield. So his perspective is an interesting one when it comes to assessing whether or not this team’s leadership is effective in sending the right message.

“The veteran guys have always been leaders, but this year it’s been more vocal,” Peterson explained. “Having a lot of young guys here that can play ball, and the guys that I call veterans, Antoine and Kevin and Jared, those guys are able to see that. In tough times they came up and called the team together and shared their thoughts. I’m sure they know that their time is starting to come to an end, they know how hard it is to get to the post-season so they want to take advantage of that opportunity. So yeah, I’ve seen a lot of guys step up and lead in different ways this year.”


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6 Vikings-Packers Storylines To Watch

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 2, 2013 – 7:15 am

Another great chapter in the Vikings-Packers border battle will unfold this weekend at Lambeau Field, as the two franchises meet in the Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL playoffs. This is a matchup that sells itself, but while we count down the hours until these teams square-off once again, let’s go over 6 of the Vikings-Packers storylines we’ll be watching this week…

1. Border Battle Moves To The Postseason
The third meeting in five weeks between border rivals Minnesota and Green Bay will take place in the postseason. Remarkably, this is only the second time these two clubs have met in the postseason, with the Vikings winning the first matchup 31-17 as underdogs at Lambeau Field. Saturday night’s game marks the third time in five weeks the Vikings and Packers will square off, and it also marks the 27th playoff season and 46th playoff game in Vikings history.

2. Does Green Bay Have An Answer For Adrian Peterson?
Adrian Peterson had a historic season in 2012, and his performances against the Packers were a significant reason why. Peterson rushed for 409 yards and 2 TDs in 2 games against Green Bay, averaging 7.4 yards per carry on 55 attempts and putting up huge totals of 210 yards at Lambeau Field in Week 13 and 199 yards on a career-high 34 carries in Week 17. Green Bay has proven they can yield a huge number of rushing yards to Peterson and still win – they defeated the Vikings in Week 13 – but you can be sure Green Bay would rather not sweat it out like that. Can the Packers come up with an answer for Peterson? It’s a fun subplot to watch.

3. Can Vikings Contain Aaron Rodgers, Packers Passing Game?
In similar fashion to how Peterson gives the Packers trouble, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has dominated the Vikings. In 2012, Rodgers completed 73.3% of his passes against the Vikings for an average of 325.5 yards per game and a TD-INT ratio of 5-1. The Vikings defense did a great job against Rodgers and Co. in the 1st quarter of last week’s game, forcing them to punt three times in three possessions. But after that, Rodgers caught fire and led the Packers to 4 TDs and 2 FGs in the Packers final 8 series. It’s hard to expect the Vikings defense to play for the whole game this Saturday the way they played in the 1st quarter on Sunday, but there has to be some kind of balance the Vikings can strike between the two for the duration of Saturday night’s game that can hold the Packers offense at bay.

4. Winfield’s Status Remains Uncertain
A big part of the Vikings effort to slow down the Packers passing game is the presence of CB Antoine Winfield. Unfortunately, whether or not Winfield will be able to play this weekend is a big question mark. Winfield injured his hand in the Vikings Week 16 win at Houston. He was able to start last week’s game against Green Bay, but was unable to finish the game because of the hand injury. Winfield was held out of practice on Tuesday, and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said his top CB’s status would be a day-to-day situation all week.

5. Plenty Of Names To Watch On This Week’s Injury Report
Outside of Winfield, there are plenty of names to watch on this week’s injury report – for both teams. The Vikings will monitor shoulder injuries for a pair of starters – DE Brian Robison and S Harrison Smith. Special teams standout Tyrone McKenzie also has a shoulder injury. Peterson has been dealing with an abdomen injury, both WR Jerome Simpson and C John Sullivan were shaken up for a moment during last week’s game, and RT Phil Loadholt has been listed with a knee injury in recent weeks.

For the Packers, there’s plenty of good news on the injury front. WR Randall Cobb is expected to return, which could give Rodgers his full complement of receivers because Greg Jennings is healthy and Jordy Nelson is expected to play. Future Hall of Fame DB Charles Woodson has been cleared for a return to practice from a broken collarbone, LB Clay Matthews left but returned to the last week’s game and will play on Saturday and run-stopper CJ Wilson appears to have come out of last week’s game okay.

6. Freezing Forecast Set For Saturday Night
The weather.com forecast for Green Bay on Saturday shows a high of 26 degrees and a low of 15 degrees for the day, with snow possible and winds predicted to come from the west at 15 mph. It’s not the coldest we’ve seen Lambeau Field, but it’s the coldest game of the season for the Vikings and the elements will definitely be a factor in the game.


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Adrian Peterson’s Final (And Historic) Regular Season Numbers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2013 – 10:03 am

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson came up 9 yards short of surpassing Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. But he didn’t come up short of making history this season. Here’s a look at just a few of the incredible and historically significant records and statistics produced by Peterson and the Vikings rushing offense during the 2012 regular season…

– Peterson led the NFL in rushing with 2,097 yards, a total that ranks as the 2nd-best single-season total in NFL history and a total than was 484 yards ahead of the next RB (Washington’s Alfred Morris). He also led the NFL in scrimmage yards with 2,314, beating Lions WR Calvin Johnson by 350 yards. Peterson is just the 7th player in NFL history to rush for 2,000-plus yards.

– In Week 1, Peterson surpassed Robert Smith as the Vikings all-time leading rusher. He finished the season-opener against Jacksonville with 84 rushing yards, giving him a total of 6,836 at the time. Smith’s previous record was 6,818.

– Peterson is the first Vikings RB to lead the NFL in rushing twice (2008, 2012).

– With 2,097 rushing yards in 2012, Peterson now owns 5 of the top 7 single-season rushing totals in Vikings history. Also, Peterson had single-game rushing totals of 212, 210, 199 and 182 yards. With those single-game totals, Peterson now owns 9 of the top 12 Vikings single-game rushing totals.

– Peterson crossed the 8,000-yard rushing mark in 2012, becoming the 45th player in NFL history to do so and becoming the 6th-fastest to reach the mark (85 games).

– Peterson scored 12 rushing TDs in 2012 and became the first player in Vikings history to notch 10+ rushing TDs in 6 seasons.

– Peterson set a team record with 8 consecutive 100-yard rushing games from Week 7 to Week 15.

– With 7 runs of 50+ yards, Peterson tied Barry Sanders for the single-season NFL record in that category.

– From Week 7 to Week 15, Peterson had 1,313 rushing yards, the most rushing yards by a player in NFL history over any 8-game span.

– Peterson registered his career-long run (82 yards) on December 2 at Green Bay, and then matched it two weeks later in St. Louis with another 82-yard TD run.

– Peterson averaged 131.0 rushing yards per game this season, which ranks 1st in team history by an incredible 21.0 yards (Peterson averaged 110.0 per game in 2008).

– With three 2-TD rushing days in 2012, Peterson now has 18 2+ TD rushing games in his career, a team record. The Vikings are 13-5 in games in which Peterson has 2+ rushing TDs.

– With 2,634 rushing yards as a team, the Vikings tied a franchise record set in 2007 for  team rushing yards in a season. The Vikings also set a new team record with a 5.4-yard per-carry average.


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Griffen Steps Up In Big Spot

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2013 – 7:39 am

Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder and Blair Walsh all picked a great time to have one of their best – if not the best – performance of the 2012 season. In the game’s biggest moment, those three Vikings registered A+ performances to help lead the Vikings to victory in a true win-or-go-home scenario.

But those three weren’t working alone on Sunday. Another Vikings player also registered a season’s-best performance on Sunday, and that performance was a huge factor in the team’s win. Everson Griffen played like a man possessed, and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers paid for it.

In his 3rd season out of USC, Griffen had arguably the best game of his career Sunday. He sacked Rodgers three times for a loss of 20 yards, hit Rodgers another time, and tallied 4 total tackles on the day.

Griffen’s first sack came late in the 2nd quarter on a 2nd-and-10 from the Minnesota 38 with Green Bay driving for what looked like could be a TD right before the half. The sack resulted in a loss of 9 yards and all but eliminated the opportunity for Green Bay to score a TD and instead forced them to position themselves for a long FG try. Griffen’s 2nd sack came on the Packers first drive of the 2nd half and resulted in a loss of 3 yards on a 1st-and-10 play from the Minnesota 45. Griffen’s third and final sack came in the 4th quarter on a 1st-and-10 from the Green Bay 34. It backed Green Bay up 8 yards and eventually forced them into a 4th down, which they converted on a completion to Jarrett Boykin.

For the regular season, Griffen finished 3rd on the Vikings with 8.0 sacks, just a half-sack behind Brian Robison and 4.0 sacks behind Jared Allen. Griffen also ranked 4th on the team with 10.0 tackles for loss, 2nd on the team with 25 QB hurries, and he added 7 tackles and a forced fumble on special teams.


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Winfield’s Status Uncertain, Peterson And Robison Good To Go

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2013 – 7:23 am

The Vikings emerged from Sunday’s border battle season finale with a huge win and a berth in the postseason. For the most part, the Vikings also got out of Sunday’s game looking good on the injury front, too. Here are a few notes on injuries for both the Vikings and Green Bay Packers as they begin preparations this week for Saturday’s Wild Card round showdown…

Vikings
– It appears the biggest injury concern for the Vikings will be CB Antoine Winfield. He injured his hand two weeks ago but was able to play in Sunday’s contest against Green Bay. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to finish the game. Winfield left midway through the game and was not able to return, which raises question about whether he’ll be able to play in 5 days when the two teams battle once again in what will surely be frigid conditions at Lambeau Field. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with Antoine [Winfield], we’ll see how he does throughout the week,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “He was in quite a bit of pain yesterday, so we’ll have to see how he does during the week and make a decision maybe later on.”

– S Harrison Smith left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, but Frazier said he was able to return to the game. It’s expected that Smith will not be a full participant in practice all week, but there’s optimism that Smith will be ready to play on Saturday night.

– Adrian Peterson was listed on the injury report with an abdomen injury last week. But it looks as if he came out of Sunday’s game in pretty good shape. Frazier said that Peterson reported feeling better after the Packers game than he felt a day after the Houton Texans game a week earlier.

– DE Brian Robison missed the December 23 game in Houston because of a shoulder injury, but was able to start and finish Sunday’s game against Green Bay. Frazier said Robison should be available for Saturday’s rematch with the Packers.

Packers
– Late in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, the Packers lost DL Jerel Worthy to a leg injury. He was carted off the field and, according to this report from packersnews.com, left the locker room on crutches and in a full leg brace. Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy has not yet provided an update on Worthy’s status for Saturday.

– Green Bay held out WR Randall Cobb (ankle) and DB Charles Woodson (collarbone) on Sunday, but there’s a good chance both will return on Saturday. There’s nearly a 100% chance Cobb will return, in fact, and that’s big news for Green Bay because he’s a top-flight returner and he’s also the team’s leader in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and receptions of 20+ yards. As for Woodson, he’s misssed 10 weeks because of the collarbone injury and is still waiting to be cleared for contact. He’s such a saavy veteran, though, that it won’t take him long to get back into the groove once he’s cleared. It won’t be a surprise to see him on the field Saturday.

– Both LB Clay Mathews and WR Jordy Nelson left Sunday’s game at one point or another, but both players are expected to play and start on Saturday.


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