Found December 01, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
Seattle_seahawks_v_b529
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the Minnesota Vikings (6-5) to make the playoffs this season, they'll need to win at least one of their two upcoming games with the division-rival Packers (7-4). The first of those two NFC North showdowns is Sunday at Lambeau Field, with both teams' regular-season schedules concluding four weeks later in Minnesota. "I want to go ahead and control our own destiny," Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said this week. "I don't want to have to deal with looking at different games and hoping that this team loses or this team wins." Peterson's league-leading 1,236 rushing yards have helped give Minnesota a shot at the postseason for the first time since 2009, back when now-retired gunslinger Brett Favre was handing him the ball. "(These games) count as double, especially with how things have panned out so far," Peterson said. "Everyone is a game ahead or a game behind, so each game is going to be very important." The Vikings and Packers both trail the Chicago Bears (8-3) in a chase for the division title. Minnesota hasn't done itself any favors in the playoff race either, losing to the NFC's other two 6-5 teams, Seattle and Tampa Bay, both of which own the head-to-head tiebreaker as a result. With those three teams battling for the sixth and final postseason spot in the conference, the Vikings will have to finish with a better record than the Seahawks and Buccaneers in order to still be playing in January. If Peterson continues to run as well as he has been, even after undergoing major knee surgery in the offseason, the Vikings certainly have a good shot at beating the Packers this weekend. The only team that has had any level of success at stopping Peterson this season was the San Francisco 49ers -- arguably the NFL's best defense -- in Week 3. Containing Peterson will be even more difficult for Green Bay this weekend with the Packers missing Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), veteran defensive back Charles Woodson (collarbone) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee). According to ProFootballFocus.com, Matthews, Woodson and Wilson are three of Green Bay's six best run-stoppers this season. "Peterson, I mean, he's a once-a-decade kind of runner," Packers veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said. "For him to come off the kind of injury he had and to run the way he's running is unbelievable. "Nobody is Adrian Peterson. There's only one. He's on a whole other level. You can contain him all game and then he'll break a long run, so the whole game is like a headache." One way for Green Bay to make Peterson less relevant is to get a big lead early in the game. No matter how good he is, if the Vikings are down 21 points at halftime, coach Leslie Frazier will have little choice but to go to a pass-heavy offense. And when Minnesota is throwing the ball, it's rarely a positive for its offense. Under second-year quarterback Christian Ponder, the Vikings' passing offense is ranked 30th in the NFL. Ponder is 24th in passer rating, 24th in passing yards and 32nd in yards per attempt. Plus, for the third consecutive game, Ponder will likely be without his top wide receiver, Percy Harvin (doubtful, ankle). "He's so important to our offense, our team," Frazier said of Harvin. "To not have him, it definitely has an impact." Despite missing two games already, Harvin still leads the Vikings in targets, catches and receiving yards by a significant amount. He's also a dynamic kick returner who scored on a 105-yard touchdown in Week 4. But the Packers have issues of their own. Their defense allowed 38 points last weekend to the New York Giants while picking up only one sack and no interceptions. Green Bay's offense wasn't much better, specifically in the play of its offensive line, which gave up five sacks and 17 quarterback hurries. "The sack totals are too high," coach Mike McCarthy said this week. "We've had some games where it's gotten out of hand. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 37 times this season, the most of any quarterback in the league. "It's something that we obviously talk about," Rodgers said. "We shoot for obviously a lot less (sacks) than we've had so far. We've got to do a better job as an offense of eliminating some of those. Everybody has a part in that, and as a whole we have to do a better job, because those hits start to add up a little bit." Even with all the pressure Rodgers has faced this season, he's still ranked first in passer rating and second in touchdown passes. Rodgers, the NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player, would be at the top of nearly every statistical category had his receivers not dropped a league-worst 9.2 percent of the catchable passes that he's thrown. However, the Packers are getting two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings back for this game. Jennings hasn't played since Week 4 and is just one month removed from undergoing abdominal surgery. "He's dangerous," Rodgers said of Jennings. "I think just the name recognition alone merits the respect ... just having him out there gives us another weapon." But like the Vikings, Green Bay is a relatively one-dimensional offense. Minnesota struggles when forced to pass and the Packers aren't as good when running the ball. Now that veteran running back Cedric Benson (foot) is officially out for the remainder of the season, McCarthy has to hope that James Starks and Alex Green, as well as fullback John Kuhn, can help Green Bay improve upon its 23rd-ranked rushing offense. "I feel we have a good rotation (at running back)," McCarthy said. "It's just really finding the things they all do well and play to that and have that in sync with the run-blocking unit. If we can find that rhythm, that definitely would benefit us." Follow Paul Imig on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Peterson believes he can break record

In a new NFL era of pass-heavy offenses and running back-by-committee, there are those who believe Emmitt Smith's career rushing record will never be broken. Adrian Peterson isn't among them. The Minnesota Vikings star rusher is undaunted by what it would take for him to reach Smith's mark of 18,355 yards. Even though he would have to maintain his career average of...

Peterson missed bus because he overslept

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says he missed the team bus to Soldier Field on Sunday because he overslept. Peterson was about 20 minutes late to the stadium for the game against the Chicago Bears, then side-stepped questions after the game about the reason for it. Coach Leslie Frazier said it was "a big deal" that one of his...

Peterson: stats 'mean nothing' in loss

By Andrew Gruman FOXSportsWisconsin.com GREEN BAY, Wis. Adrian Peterson continues to defy logic. Rushing for 210 yards, including a career-best 82-yard touchdown run, the ultra-talented running back that's less than a year removed from blowing out his knee was the only reason Minnesota was even in Sunday's game. Yet somehow, as ridiculous as it sounds, Peterson tried to...

Packers overcome Vikings, Peterson

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers got plenty of help. Adrian Peterson got none at all. The Green Bay Packers won a key NFC showdown against division rival Minnesota 23-14 on Sunday at Lambeau Field. With a win by the Packers (8-4) and a loss by Chicago (8-4), the Packers are tied for first place in the NFC North. The Vikings (6-6), meanwhile, are in deep trouble after losing for...

Previewing the Green Bay Packers vs. the Adrian Petersons

No disrespect to the Minnesota Vikings who are one of the better stories in the NFL and NFC North particularly. Still they are without their best receiver in Percy Harvin and are riding a very young and inexperienced quarterback in Christian Ponder. The one thing the Vikings (6-5) do have is Adrian Peterson who has miraculously come back from a nasty knee injury to put up MVP-like...

Notebook: A.P. means amazing production

Career-long touchdown run? Check. Franchise day against hated rival? Check. Best 12-game start in Vikings history? Check. Those impressive feats and more were part of Adrian Peterson’s comeback tour. Plus, more than a dozen game-day notes that tell the tale of the 23-14 loss.

Game Preview: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Courtesy of www.rodgersphotobomb.com and www.packers.com Coming off one of their worst regular season losses in recent memories, the Green Bay Packers look to get on track at home against the rival Minnesota Vikings. Fresh off getting trounced 38-10 at the hands of the Giants, Green Bay is in a standard trap game looking for their 8th win. Even with the recent history between the...

Minnesota Vikinings at Green Bay Packers point spread, line and preview

The Minnesota Vikings will play against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST on FOX. Green Bay (7-4) is coming off a disappointing loss to the New York Giants last week while Minnesota (6-5) hurt their playoff chances with a loss to Chicago Bears. Green Bay has to feel good about their chances to make the playoffs, their seven wins place them alone as the NFC’s first wild...

Packers Use Balancing Act to Beat Vikings

Aaron Rodgers was aided by a good running game while the Vikings had nothing but Adrian Peterson. With the Packers pitching a second-half shutout, they beat the Vikings 23-14 and stayed right in the heart of the playoff race.

Win puts Packers in NFC North driver's seat

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With one month until the playoffs begin, the Packers showed Sunday that they still have a lot of work to do to become serious Super Bowl threats. But this was certainly an improvement over how they played a week ago, so coach Mike McCarthy's team is starting to make a few of the necessary adjustments. Handing out grades following the Packers' 23-14 win...

Ponder, passing game a dissapointment

The Minnesota Vikings' playoff chances are slipping away with each missed opportunity, such as Sunday's 24-13 loss at the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay and the Chicago Bears (8-4) are tied atop of the NFC North, with the Packers owning a tiebreaker advantage against Chicago. Minnesota (6-6) is a game out of the playoffs after the Seattle Seahawks (7-5) beat the Bears Sunday...

Cedric Benson won’t return this season

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told the media today that running back Cedric Benson will remain on injured reserve this season after undergoing surgery on his foot. McCarthy: Benson had surgery yesterday. He will not be back with us this season. — Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) November 29, 2012 Cedric Benson will remain on injured reserve the rest of the season. #packers...

Packers atop division after 23-14 win over Vikes

The Green Bay Packers are back atop the NFC North, and they have a very unlikely source to thank. Minutes after the Packers wrapped up their 23-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon, Seattle beat Chicago in overtime to drop the Bears back into a tie with Green Bay for the division lead. Yes, that would be the same Seattle team that stole a win from the Packers...

Packers' Benson out for season

Green Bay Packers running back Cedric Benson will miss the rest of the season after undergoing foot surgery, head coach Mike McCarthy announced Thursday. Benson had been the Packers' Injured Reserve after suffering a Lisfranc injury at Indianapolis. He ran for 248 yards on 71 carries with one touchdown. Running backs James Starks and Alex Green will continue to share time at running back.
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.