cbs4 My 33 Header Logo

Tale of the tape

Wild Card Weekend: Minnesota Vikings At Green Bay Packers

Vikings

Packers

Christian Ponder has struggled much of the year, but he came through with excellent performances the last two weeks against the Texans and the Packers (234 passing yards and three TDs). Those two wins helped put the Vikings in the playoffs. In this game, he must avoid mistakes and take advantage of the play-action opportunities he will have against the Packers. Quarterback The Packers did not play badly in the regular-season finale against the Vikings in the Metrodome. However, they came up just short and must play in this Wild-Card game against their division rivals. Aaron Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns against the Vikings and was superb. He may have to be even better this week.
Adrian Peterson finished nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record as he finished the season with 2,097 yards and had 199 rushing yards against the Packers. He is the focus of the offense but tight end Kyle Rudolph has the strength to get open and the hands to catch the ball. Unheralded wide receiver Jarius Wright had big catches against the Texans and Packers. Offense The Packers want to run the ball to take pressure off of Rodgers and DuJuan Harris had 70 yards vs. the Vikings. Greg Jennings is healthy once again and makes big catches in clutch situations. James Jones had a receiving touchdown against the Vikings and is coming off of his best year. Jordy Nelson is capable of making big plays, but tight end Jermichael Finley is inconsistent.
The Vikings want to put pressure on Rodgers but they know if they try to blitz him regularly he will tear them apart. They must use their front four to put the heat on and defensive end Everson Griffen registered 3.0 sacks of Rodgers in Week 17. Defensive end Jared Allen is a dangerous pass rusher while linebacker Chad Greenway is a sure tackler. Defense The Packers have to focus on hitting Peterson hard early and preventing him from getting started on a game where he can carry his team on his back and get them another upset. That’s much easier said than done, but NT B.J. Raji and linebacker Clay Matthews are capable of punishing any running back. Free safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker A.J. Hawk are solid tacklers.
Rookie placekicker Blair Walsh hit the game-winning field goal at the gun that earned the Vikings their spot in the playoffs. He also hit a 54-yard field goal against the Packers and was 10-of-10 this year on field goals of 50 yards or longer. Punter Chris Kluwe has a big leg and he averaged 49.3 yards per punt against the Packers. Special Teams Randall Cobb has been an explosive returner this season but he could not play in the season finale against the Vikings because of knee and ankle injuries. Head coach Mike McCarthy would like to have him back for this game. Mason Crosby has struggled badly on his FG attempts, but he was 2-of-2 vs. the Vikings, including one from 51 yards.

We'll just call it a tie

The Vikings played a sensational game and edged the Packers 37-34 to earn a playoff spot. Now they must face the Packers again and find a way to beat them at Lambeau Field. The Vikings are playing their best football of the year, but they will need to turn it up again if they are going to beat Green Bay for a second straight week. It’s a very unlikely scenario.

More Tales of the tape

  1. (Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images) (Source: Lars Baron/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Football vs. Futbol

    With the World Cup still going strong and the NFL just weeks away from getting started it seemed like a fun idea to compare the two sports that share the same name…sort of. From the global “futbol” to the American “football” these sports are two of the most popular in their own right. As somewhat of a disclaimer I will add that this Tale of the Tape is being written by an American, though I am a big soccer fan. That being said, let’s start the debate.

  2. FIFA President Jospeph Sepp Blatter and South Africa President Jacob Zuma present the World Cup trophy to Iker Casillas, captain of Spain, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Source: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) South Korea's Kim Donghyeon practices during a men's Luge training session at the Sanki Sliding Centre in Rosa Khutor on February 6, 2014, on the eve of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games' opening ceremony. (Source: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: World Cup Vs. Olympics

    There are very few worldwide occurrences that captivate fans of every nation the way that the Olympics and World Cup have proven to do. When the time comes for either event you can bet that the majority of the world shifts their attention to these amazing month-long competitions. 2014 has been a great year for fans of the Olympics and the World Cup as both took place in the span of just a few months. With the World Cup still going strong and the Olympics fresh in the minds of fans across the globe, let’s see how they match up when placed side-by-side.

  3. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote) (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little)
    Tale Of The Tape: Winter Olympics In Sochi Vs. FIFA World Cup In Brazil

    With both sites having their share of issues in hosting major international sporting events, we went to the tape to decide who was the worst host of 2014.

See all Tales of the Tape