Minnesota Vs Green Bay
November 14, 2011 by staff
The Vikings lost their most talented cover man, second-year pro Chris Cook, for the season because he’s on leave after being charged with felony domestic assault. They’re getting starting cornerback Antoine Winfield back from a neck injury, but while he’s still a highly respected player because of toughness, he’s not the cover man at age 34 he was a couple years ago.
One of their other corners, Cedric Griffin, doesn’t run well after multiple knee surgeries, and another, Asher Allen, is short (5-feet-9) and without any distinguishing traits. Also, safeties Jamarca Sanford and Husain Abdullah are limited in coverage. This group faces a huge uphill battle to stay with Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, Jordy Nelson and James Jones for 60 minutes.
Ponder vs. Woodson
Packers cornerback Charles Woodson has made a killing against rookie quarterbacks this season — four of his five interceptions have come against Carolina’s Cam Newton and the Vikings’ Christian Ponder.
Minnesota has to feel good about its future at quarterback based on Ponder’s play in his two starts, and he’ll be a challenge for the Packers because of his ability to get outside the pocket and make throws or run for first downs.
But this will be only his third start in the NFL, and he’ll be facing maybe the smartest and most instinctive defensive player in the game in Woodson. Can Woodson bait the rookie into a couple more big mistakes tonight?
Containing the playmakers
Game planning for the Vikings’ defense starts with Jared Allen, the NFL’s sacks leader (12½) and leading candidate for defensive player of the year at the halfway point of the season. No doubt the Packers have put plenty of planning into dealing with him, and ways to help left tackle Marshall Newhouse if he needs it, which he did at the Metrodome three weeks ago.
But almost as important is right tackle Bryan Bulaga’s matchup against left end Brian Robison. Robison is a high-energy player with 4½ sacks and some playmaking ability. Bulaga is rock steady and did fine work in their matchup in Minnesota. The Packers will need him to handle Robison on his own again tonight.
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