TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings At Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers
(credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
(credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
(credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Christian Ponder had shown some signs of improvement, but he was benched in the final quarter of the Week 11 loss to the Seahawks. While Ponder is a good athlete with the requisite physical skills to be successful, he has been a major disappointment throughout the big part of his career. Matt Cassel could see significant playing time against the Packers.
Winner The Packers are in survival mode until Aaron Rodgers comes back from his left shoulder injury. While he could be back on Thanksgiving Day when the Packers play the Lions, he will not be back for this game. Third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien has a competitive attitude. While he has just average skills, he could find a way to register a home win over the struggling Vikings.
Offense
Winner The Vikings have a chance to dominate any opponent when running back Adrian Peterson (groin) is at his best. He has had some of his best games against the Packers, but most of them have been at the Metrodome. The Vikings would like to unleash wide receiver Greg Jennings on his former team, but much of that will depend on the inconsistent Ponder.
The Packers have had a resurgent running game this season led by rookie running back Eddie Lacy, and this could be one of his most important games since their passing game is obviously at a disadvantage without Rodgers. Jordy Nelson remains the Packers’ most dependable receiver because of his route running and solid hands.
Defense
The Vikings have had a difficult time playing consistently on defense as they have given up huge chunks of yardage throughout the season. While linebacker Chad Greenway is a dependable tackler, too many of his teammates are arm tacklers who can’t get the job done. Defensive end Jared Allen remains the Vikings’ best pass rusher.
Winner The Packers have been far more physical on defense than they have been in past years, but their pass defense has been vulnerable because the front seven tends to get tired in the second half. Clay Matthews has had a difficult time playing consistently since returning from his broken thumb. Fellow linebacker A.J. Hawk has been one of the team’s best tacklers.
Special Teams
Winner The Vikings have one of the best special-teams weapons in the NFL in rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, who has already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Punt returner Marcus Sherels is also dangerous as he has a punt return for a touchdown. Strong-legged Blair Walsh can make long FG attempts.
The Packers could have a huge problem against Patterson, who returned a kickoff for a TD vs. the Packers in their Week Eight meeting. Michah Hyde can take advantage of his blocks and has returned one punt for a touchdown. Placekicker Mason Crosby has been much improved this season.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Winner Minnesota Vikings
3 out of 4

The Packers must find a way to survive this game without Rodgers and hope that he can come back against the Lions. Green Bay cannot afford to drop a home game to a struggling divisional rival.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

  2. (Photo Credit: Joe Robbins, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Kentucky Vs. #5 West Virginia

    With an undefeated record coming into March Madness, this is the team that people tried to pick upsets over to help win their brackets.

  3. (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #5 North Carolina

    Bo Ryan has led his Wisconsin Badgers to March Madness in all 14 season that he has coached the team.

See All Tales of the Tape