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Pregame warmup: Packers must win to stay in first place

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 27, 2013 – 6:31 pm

With kickoff less than an hour away, here’s the final rundown on what matters tonight from the Metrodome.

NFC North lead at stake

Detroit’s dramatic, come-from behind 31-30 victory over Dallas earlier on Sunday forces the Packers to have to win in order to remain in first place in the NFC North.

The Lions are now 5-3, with the Packers trying to get to 5-2 by beating the Vikings. Should the Packers lose, they would fall into a second-place tie with idle Chicago (bye this week) at 4-3.

Tonight’s game begins a stretch of four NFC North games for the Packers in their next six contests. Following tonight’s game, Green Bay hosts Chicago on Monday night and then, after two games against NFC East foes Philadelphia and the N.Y. Giants, the Packers host Minnesota on Nov. 24 and then travel to Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Packers injury update

The Packers will once again be without OLBs Clay Matthews and Nick Perry tonight, leaving Mike Neal, Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer as the only healthy players at that position. Perry returned to practice on Friday on a limited basis and was questionable to play with his foot injury, but he is inactive.

WR James Jones also is not returning to action tonight. That leaves the Packers with Jordy Nelson as the only regular starting WR in the lineup. Green Bay also is a little thinner than normal at TE, with both Jermichael Finley and Ryan Taylor sidelined.

Vikings QB change

Due to Josh Freeman’s concussion, the Vikings are turning back to QB Christian Ponder, the third different QB to start for the Vikings in their last three games, following Matt Cassel and Freeman.

Ponder has started four career games against the Packers, going 1-3. He lost his first three attempts before beating the Packers in Week 17 last season to get Minnesota into the playoffs. In that game, Ponder threw three TD passes a posted a 120.2 passer rating, the highest of his career. For a closer look at Ponder’s numbers against the Packers, scroll down to the chart at the bottom of this story.

Peterson’s performance

The above link will also provide all of Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson’s rushing statistics in his career against the Packers. Peterson rushed for 508 yards in three games against Green Bay last season, an average of 169.3 per game. His previous best in one season against the Packers came in 2008, when he averaged 145.5 in two games.

All purple

For those interested in fashion, the Vikings will be wearing all purple uniforms tonight — purple pants and purple jerseys, along with their usual purple helmets.


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