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Wild Card Playoff Preview: Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Astoundingly, after a 3-13 2011 season, and an offseason comprised of no real splashy moves to speak of, our favorite football team is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. And wouldn't it just work out that they're facing the division rival Packers in the first round. As you undoubtedly already know, these teams have faced off twice this season, and each team has won their home game. The Packers have actually lost their last two home playoff games, but there's no doubt this game against a division rival carries extra weight for them. We couldn't be more excited for today's game, and here are some things we'll be looking for:
Limiting Aaron Rodgers
After a bit of a slow first half in which he threw for 155 yards(nearly 60 of them coming on Green Bay's final drive of the half), Rodgers came out in the second half on fire. He threw for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns. One thing that helped his cause was that veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield was kept on the sideline throughout most of the game after he aggravated a hand injury. While Winfield was out there, Rodgers threw against Vikings cornerbacks 11 times. Only one of those went to Antoine's side. If the Vikings are going to have any chance to slow down Aaron Rodgers at home, they're going to need excellent play from their secondary. Winfield is questionable but said he would be playing through the pain. We'll be on the lookout to see how much he plays, and how much he can disrupt Green Bay's passing attack while he's out there.
Adrian Peterson: Packer Nightmare
In two matchups this season, Adrian Peterson has run for a ridiculous 409 yards against the Pack, with an average of 7.43 yards per carry. The Packer defense has had no answer for him in either game, and he has been the heart of the Vikings offense(but really, what else is new?). Packer LB Clay Matthews was quoted earlier this week promising that Green Bay's defense would not allow Adrian to get to 200 yards. Bolder predictions have been made, and we wonder whether that's trash talk or more of a slight to his own team's defense against the rush. This just in, Clay -- 195 yards by Adrian would still mean your team played awful defense against the run. But knowing AD, he'll be looking for much more than 195. The all time playoff record is 248 yards, held by -- you guessed it -- Eric Dickerson. Adrian, we know you fell just short of Eric's record last week, but this one is entirely up for grabs. If the Vikings have any chance to win this game, Peterson's going to have to come up big, but you almost have to expect him to do just that.
Christian Ponder... Or Joe Webb?
After injuring his elbow in last week's game against the Packers, Ponder has been limited all week in practice, and has officially been listed as questionable for tonight's game. After being considered questionable throughout much of the season for a different reason, Ponder just had arguably the best game of his career. Ponder passed for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns on a day where the Vikings needed that kind of offensive output from him. If Ponder can't go, it will be up to Joe Webb to lead the Vikings to victory in Lambeau for the first time since November 1, 2009(Brett Favre's return to Green Bay). History shows that the Vikings are going to need a big game from their quarterback even IF Adrian Peterson has another monster game. The Vikings are 0-3 at Lambeau Field in games where Peterson has rushed for 100+ yards. If the Vikings are going to reverse that trend, they'll need competant and mistake free play at the QB position, whoever is playing. We'll be on the lookout for that.
Today's game against the Packers kicks off from Lambeau Field in Green Bay at 7:00 on the FAN. Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will handle the call on 100.3FM here in the Twin Cities and across the Vikings Radio Network.
Check out the graphic to the left. It was created by "ShowdownPokerGuy", a winner for the second week in a row. Check out the other submissions in this week's competition on Purple Chat. As long as the Vikings keep winning, rubes will still be running these contests. Have a fresh idea? Pay attention to Purple Chat for next week's Gameday Graphic thread if the Vikings advance into the playoffs. Did we miss out on a major plot line for today's game? Tell us below or on Purple Chat.
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This article was written by jab. You can normally find him meandering around Rube Chat. Or feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.