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Packers hold onto first place with 44-31 win

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on October 27, 2013 – 10:24 pm

Packers RB James StarksMINNEAPOLIS–The Packers improved their record to 5-2 and maintained their hold on first place in the NFC North with a 44-31 win over the Vikings on Sunday night.

Leading 31-17 after three quarters, James Starks roared 25 yards up the middle on the second play of the fourth quarter, and the rout was on.

The Packers defense then pitched a three-and-out at the Vikings, and Aaron Rodgers erased any lingering doubt. He completed a 27-yard strike to Jarrett Boykin in a drive that began emptying the seats at the Metrodome, which was hosting its final Packers-Vikings game. The Packers eventually settled for a 20-yard field goal by Mason Crosby that gave the visitors a 41-17 lead with 6:10 to play.

Minnesota scored a touchdown with 4:42 to play and then unsuccessfully attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, leaving the Packers to kill the remaining time and turn their thoughts to next week’s game against the visiting Chicago Bears.

Crosby tacked on a 45-yard field goal with 2:53 to play.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder scored on a 19-yard run to cut the Packers’ lead to 44-31 with 1:24 to play.

The Packers recovered the onside kick.

Rodgers threw for 285 yards, two touchdowns and a 130.6 passer rating. Lacy led all rushers with 94 yards. The Packers held Adrian Peterson to 60 yards rushing.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog | 68 Comments »

Packers hold 31-17 lead after three quarters

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on October 27, 2013 – 9:38 pm

Packers RB Eddie LacyMINNEAPOLIS–The Packers increased their lead to 31-17 through three quarters of action at the Metrodome on Sunday night.

The Packers struck first in the second half on an 80-yard, ball-control drive that combined the power running of Eddie Lacy and the precision passing and timely scrambling of Aaron Rodgers. The key play in the drive was a 14-yard scramble by Rodgers on a third-and-2 from the Vikings 26-yard line.

On first down from the 12, Lacy ran over defenders and down to the 5-yard line, which gave Lacy 45 yards rushing to that point in the drive. On third-and-2 from the 4-yard line, Rodgers scrambled to the 1-yard line. A player later, Lacy scored over right tackle.

The Packers defense asserted itself on the Vikings’ next possession. A Mike Daniels sack forced a punt and the Packers offense, which was playing near-flawless football, took possession at its 26-yard line.

James Starks replaced Lacy but the gashing runs continued. Starks rushed for two first downs on consecutive runs. Rodgers completed a sideline pass to Myles White, who made a defender miss and roared down the sideline to the Vikings 24-yard line. That’s where the third quarter ended.


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Furious finish to first half ends with Packers up, 24-17

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 27, 2013 – 8:57 pm

Packers CB Micah HydeThe Packers struck for two big plays to break a 10-all tie late in the second quarter, but the Vikings answered with a TD drive of their own to make it 24-17, in favor of Green Bay, at the half.

First, QB Aaron Rodgers found WR Jordy Nelson over the middle on a third-down slant, and Nelson broke into the clear, going 76 yards in all for the touchdown to put the Packers on top 17-10.

It was Nelson’s second TD catch of the first half and came with 3:38 remaining before halftime.

Then, after the Packers defense got a three-and-out, rookie CB Micah Hyde returned a punt 93 yards for the score, making it 24-10 with 1:30 left in the half. The 93-yard return is tied for the fourth longest punt return in team history.

The Vikings responded with a 77-yard drive for a TD, helped by a pass interference penalty on CB Tramon Williams on a deep ball to WR Greg Jennings. RB Adrian Peterson ran it in for the score, from 8 yards out, with just 4 seconds left in the half to pull the Vikings within 24-17.

Tied at 7 after one quarter, the Packers had taken a 10-7 lead on a 30-yard Mason Crosby field goal, which capped a 17-play, 70-yard drive that consumed 8 minutes, 24 seconds.

Green Bay converted a pair of third downs on the drive, and then, after failing on a third-and-1 run by Eddie Lacy, converted on fourth down with a 7-yard pass to FB John Kuhn.

Lacy then burst through the middle for 17 yards, putting the ball on the 11, but a third-down sack of Rodgers by LB Chad Greenway led to the field goal.

The Vikings re-tied the game on a 36-yard FG by Blair Walsh. The drive was helped by a critical personal foul penalty on Packers DE Datone Jones, who shoved Vikings T Phil Loadholt well after Christian Ponder’s third-down pass was incomplete.

The fresh set of downs, followed by a 17-yard pass on the next third down to TE Kyle Rudolph with Ponder under heavy pressure, got the Vikings into field goal range. CB Tramon Williams nearly picked off an out route intended for WR Jerome Simpson right before the field goal try.


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Ask Vic Halftime: Aaron Rodgers puts it on the money

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on October 27, 2013 – 8:53 pm

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Zack from Tallahassee, FL

You called it, Vic, on Cordarelle Patterson. This will be a good game.

All I wrote is that he’s a big-play guy that gives me much more concern than Greg Jennings does. Patterson was very nearly the Packers’ first-round pick last spring.

Tony from Lancaster, PA

Vic, even though the Vikings are a one-win team, it seems they are one player away from being a really good team. What say you?

I agree, but that one player is the most important player of all and the most difficult player to find, the quarterback. If Christian Ponder was to come of age, the Vikings could make a second-half-of-the-season run for the playoffs. There are a lot of teams with losing records in the NFC. The No. 6 seed is wide open. The Giants are a team I believe can come to life. The season is still young.

Frank from Flieden, Germany

Vic, how about the crowd? How much green is in there?

The Packers have a lot of fans here tonight, and they are loud. I would put the crowd at 60-40, Vikings fans.

Sam fromm Madison, WI

Jordy has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen. I have no idea how he catches some of those passes. Have you ever covered a receiver as sure-handed?

Sam, I’ve covered some very good receivers, beginning with Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Jordy Nelson is an outstanding receiver. On the 11-yard touchdown catch Nelson made, Aaron Rodgers’ pass was jaw-dropping. He fit it into the tightest of windows and he zipped it past Josh Robinson’s head before Robinson was able to turn and see the ball. On the 76-yarder, the window was just as tight. Those were two incredibly skilled passes by Rodgers. Do you understand where I’m going with this?

Scott from Kennewick, WA

In the second quarter, Adrian Peterson lowered his head right into Tramon Williams’ head. Is that not a perfect example of the the new rule that should have been called?

It probably is, but it’s a rule I don’t like and it doesn’t offend me that I have yet to see it enforced. I’m all for player safety, but I don’t want to see aggressiveness eliminated from the game. Initiating contact is a trrademark of great backs. That’s just my opinion, and it would be the same if Eddie Lacy dropped his head on a Vikings cornerback.

Doug from Maplewood, MO

With so many teams going to solid-color uniforms, like the Vikings going all purple on Sunday night, will we see the Packers wear solid-green uniforms?

I hope not. I think the Vikings’ uniforms are awful looking. I don’t know why they ever changed their uniform style. I always liked their uniforms. These look like clown suits.

Ricky from Denison, IA

What do you think about how the Packers defense is doing in the first half?

The pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams was an awful call. Until that play, the defense was playing outstanding football. This is a defense on the rise. When Clay Matthews and Nick Perry return to action, I think this defense could become special.

Darin from Toronto, ON

Vic, what was going through your mind when you saw the opening play?

I thought to myself, the Packers should’ve kicked it farther. I think most people remember how it bothered me that the Vikings maneuvered to get back into the first round and draft Patterson. He’s a guy with huge upside. He can be their next Randy Moss.

Bill from Green Bay, WI

How about Micah Hyde, huh?

Randall Cobb might’ve just become a full-time receiver. The Packers are growing. Their roster is getting deeper and more talented. That’s what development does for good young players, and Hyde is one of them. By the time Cobb and Matthews return to action, look out.

 


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Packers, Vikings tied after first quarter

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on October 27, 2013 – 8:01 pm

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MINNEAPOLIS–Sunday night’s game at the Metrodome began with a bang. The first quarter ended with the Packers and Vikings tied at 7-7.

Any designs the Packers had on a fast start were extinguished on the opening kickoff, when Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson went 109 yards nearly untouched for a touchdown. It tied for the longest kickoff return in NFL history. When Packers rookie Johnathan Franklin attempted to do the same on the ensuing Vikings kickoff, the Packers were in a hole at their 10-yard line.

That’s how this one started. Ouch!

Enter Aaron Rodgers, who quickly restored calm by leading the Packers on a long scoring drive. The big play in the drive was a third-and-6 from the  Vikings 31. Rodgers scrambled away from the rush and for 12 yards and a first down at the 19.

A screen pass to Eddie Lacy gained nine yards and left third-and-2 from the 11. Rodgers’ touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson beat tight coverage by Josh Robinson, and the Packers had tied the game, 7-7, with 7:23 to play in the first quarter.

Rodgers was in the process of driving the Packers toward another score when the first quarter ended. He completed 10 of 12 pass attempts for 80 yards in the quarter.


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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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LB Nick Perry out; Packers-Vikings inactives

Posted by Duke Bobber on October 27, 2013 – 5:58 pm

The following players have been declared as inactive for tonight’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
25 CB James Nixon
52 LB Clay Matthews
53 LB Nick Perry
59 LB Brad Jones
82 TE Ryan Taylor
88 TE Jermichael Finley
89 WR James Jones

Starting lineup changes: 81 Andrew Quarless will start at TE in place of Finley, 11 Jarrett Boykin at WR for J. Jones, 96 Mike Neal at OLB for Perry, 55 Andy Mulumba at OLB for Matthews, and 57 Jamari Lattimore at ILB for B. Jones.

Minnesota Vikings
12 QB Josh Freeman
27 CB Shaun Prater
40 FB Rhett Ellison
44 RB Matt Asiata
60 G Jeff Baca
83 WR Rodney Smith
91 DT Chase Baker

 


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What to watch for in Sunday night’s Packers-Vikings game

Posted by Duke Bobber on October 27, 2013 – 5:30 pm

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* Notes written by Packers public relations

WHAT TO WATCH FOR …
- Since 2006, the Packers are 18-8 (.720) in dome games (including playoffs). That ranks No. 2 in the NFL among teams with 10 or more road/neutral indoor games over that span behind only the N.Y. Jets (8-2, .800).

- The Packers have posted at least 350 yards of offense in all six games this season and each of the last nine dating back to last season. That is the second-longest current streak in the NFL behind only Denver (11).

- Green Bay has had an 80-yard rusher in each of the last five games.

- The Packers have had at least one 100-yard receiver in five of six games this season and rank No. 1 in the NFL with seven 100-yard receivers on the season.

- Green Bay has turned the ball over twice in its last three games.

- The Packers have allowed 39 points over their last three games, a 13.0-point average that ranks No. 2 in the NFL since Week 5.

- Green Bay’s average of 289.8 yards per game allowed since Week 3 ranks No. 3 in the NFL over that span.

- Green Bay has registered 17 sacks over its last four games, the most over a four-game span since it posted 17 in Weeks 6-9 in 2006. The Packers have recorded at least three sacks in four consecutive games.

- The Packers have held their opponent to fewer than 85 rushing yards in each of the last four games. Over its last four games, Green Bay has allowed 276 rushing yards on 88 carries (3.1 avg.), an average of 69.0 yards per game that ranks No. 1 in the league since Week 3.

- McCarthy enters tonight’s game tied for No. 3 in franchise history with Mike Holmgren for the most career wins (including playoffs) with 84.

- QB Aaron Rodgers has a 116.4 career passer rating in the regular season against the Vikings, connecting on 232 of 328 passes (70.7 percent) for 2,840 yards and 24 TDs with four INTs.

- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rodgers’ 116.4 rating against Minnesota ranks No. 1 in NFL history (since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger) vs. a single opponent (min. 250 attempts), ahead of Chargers QB Dan Fouts’ 112.6 rating vs. the Cleveland Browns and Rodgers’ 111.0 rating against the Detroit Lions. Rodgers has posted a passer rating of at least 130.0 in four of his last five starts against Minnesota.

- In his last six Sunday night starts, Rodgers has connected on 126 of 188 passes (67.0 percent) for 1,698 yards (283.0 per game) and 17 TDs with just one INT for a 123.5 passer rating. That includes a six-TD passing game, which tied the single-game franchise record, at Houston last season in Week 6.

- In his last 12 regular-season starts against NFC North opponents, Rodgers has completed 271 of 384 passes (70.6 percent) for 3,316 yards and 29 touchdowns with four INTs for a 117.7 passer rating.

- RB Eddie Lacy has rushed for 301 yards in the last three games, No. 1 in the NFL over that span.

- WR Jordy Nelson has posted a 18.0-yard receiving average over his last nine regular-season games, catching 41 passes for 739 yards and seven TDs. He has caught at least one TD pass in five of his last seven games.

- K Mason Crosby needs two points to move past WR Don Hutson (823) for No. 2 on the team’s all-time scoring list.

- P Tim Masthay needs to place one punt inside the 20 to move into sole possession of the No. 2 spot in team history (since 1976). With 85 career punts inside the 20, he is currently tied for No. 2 with Josh Bidwell.


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Packers set to take on Vikings in prime-time matchup

Posted by Duke Bobber on October 27, 2013 – 4:30 pm

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* Notes written by Packers public relations

PACKERS SET TO TAKE ON DIVISION-RIVAL VIKINGS IN PRIME-TIME MATCHUP
– The Packers (4-2) will face the Vikings (1-5) tonight in a nationally televised contest on NBC, Green Bay’s first prime-time game this season.

- With the Packers’ 31-13 win over the Browns and losses by the Bears and Lions last Sunday, Green Bay moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North with its 4-2 mark on the season. The Packers have won three straight games after getting off to a 1-2 start.

- Tonight kicks off a stretch of three prime-time games for the Packers in the next four weeks, with the Week 11 contest at the N.Y. Giants subject to flexible scheduling. This is the first of three scheduled Sunday night games for Green Bay (at N.Y. Giants in Week 11, vs. Atlanta in Week 14, both subject to flex scheduling).

- The Packers are 20-6 all-time in Sunday night contests, a .769 winning percentage that ranks No. 1 in NFL history (see page 2 for more). Green Bay has won seven of its last nine Sunday night games.

- This will be Green Bay’s fifth Sunday night meeting against the Vikings (1990, 2002, 2003, 2010) and the first in Minnesota since ’03.

- For the Packers, this is the first of back-to-back contests against NFC North foes, with a Monday Night Football matchup vs. Chicago at Lambeau Field in Week 9. Four of Green Bay’s next six games are against NFC North teams.

- Green Bay enters tonight’s game having won 13 of its last 14 regular-season games against NFC North foes. The Packers’ .929 winning percentage in the division over that span ranks No. 1 in the NFL.

- The Packers have won five of their last six NFC North games away from Lambeau Field. Green Bay has a 14-7 mark (.667) in road divisional games under McCarthy, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL over that span.

 

AN EVENLY MATCHED SERIES
– Fans can bet on a back-and-forth contest when the Packers and Vikings meet. In fact, 16 of the last 21 regular-season meetings have been decided by seven points or less.

- Since Head Coach Mike McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers have swept the season series four out of seven years (2006-2007, 2010-2011). Green Bay has a 10-4 record (.714) against the Vikings in the regular season under McCarthy.

- Through 105 meetings, which includes two postseason games, the Packers hold a 55-49-1 advantage over the Vikings in the all-time series.

- Including Green Bay’s win over Minnesota last season in an NFC Wild Card game, the Packers have won six of the last seven games between the teams. Green Bay has won two of the last three meetings in Minnesota.

- The Packers have scored 30-plus points in four of their last five games against Minnesota, averaging 33.2 points per game over that span.

- Over the last 19 seasons (1994-2012), the Packers (nine) and the Vikings (five) have accounted for 14 NFC Central/North championships.

 

WEARING THE STRIPES
– Tonight’s officiating crew includes referee Scott Green (19), umpire Bruce Stritesky (102), head linesman Tom Stabile (24), line judge Mike Spanier (90), field judge Boris Cheek (41), side judge Larry Rose (128) and back judge Scott Helverson (93).


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Dietrich-Smith, Jolly and Crosby are Sunday’s captains

Posted by Duke Bobber on October 27, 2013 – 3:30 pm

* Notes written by Packers public relations

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As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week. Tonight’s captains will be C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith (offense), DT Johnny Jolly (defense) and K Mason Crosby (special teams).


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