Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/15/11
Given some confidence by the way they played in a close loss three weeks ago, the Minnesota Vikings were hoping to put an end to the undefeated talk for the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. Minnesota led early in the week 7, 33-27 loss to Green Bay. There was no Vikings' lead this time and a 17-0 deficit in the first quarter ended any hope of an upset early in Monday night's 45-7 loss at Lambeau Field. Minnesota wanted to use Adrian Peterson to keep the explosive Packers' offense off the field, but trailing big early even took Peterson out of the Vikings' plans. Peterson had 46 rushing yards at halftime, but finished with just 51 for the game on 14 carries. While Green Bay remained the league's last unbeaten team at 9-0, Minnesota fell to 2-7 and has to fully embrace looking toward the 2012 season. Corrections can begin by figuring out these five things: 1.More than Antoine Winfield is needed against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Rodgers is making every defense he faces look defenseless this season, but he has had his way against the Vikings' overmatched secondary. Minnesota got veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield back, but it mattered little against Rodgers' quick release and pinpoint accuracy. Rodgers completed 24 of his 30 passes in the first meet for 335 yards and three touchdowns. Monday night he was 23 for 30 for 250 passing and four touchdowns and was able to watch the end of the game from the sideline as backup Matt Flynn entered. Winfield was supposed to bolster the secondary, but Minnesota needs more than just Winfield. Rodgers and his receivers routinely beat cornerbacks Asher Allen and Cedric Griffin and safety Jamarca Sanford. Sanford was in chase-mode on Rodgers' first touchdown to Greg Jennings. Jordy Nelson ran through Griffin's tackle attempt for a 17-yard touchdown and Sanford was beaten on Nelson's other touchdown. Making matters worse, Winfield left late in the game with an injury, went to the locker room and didn't return. 2.More discipline is needed. When Green Bay wasn't beating up the Vikings, they were doing it to themselves. Penalties really became a problem on Monday night and often came at critical times. Minnesota had 10 penalties for a combined 80 yards. Fred Evans' false start on Ryan Longwell's 47-yard field goal backed up Longwell five yards and he missed from 52 yards into the wind. There were pass interference penalties and even a completely unnecessary offsides penalty on a kickoff. On top of the penalties, there was yet another instance when the Vikings offense couldn't get lined up properly and had to take a timeout. It's happened several times this season. Later, Minnesota tried to switch to a dime defense, got stuck with 12 men on the field and had to burn another timeout. To make matters worse, the Vikings couldn't find footing and were slipping all over Lambeau Field, some coming at critical times, including when Sanford slipped and was out of position on Randall Cobb's 80-yard punt return for touchdown to open the scoring. 3.Younger defenders might be getting their chance. Rookie defensive lineman Christian Ballard earned the start at nose tackle for underperforming free-agent signee Remi Ayodele. These are the types of personnel moves Minnesota needs right now in a lost season. The Vikings need to find out what they have in some of their younger players. Ballard finished with three tackles, including his first tackle for loss. Safety Mistral Raymond also received his most extensive playing time in the defense. Raymond was part of a full-fledged safety rotation. Starters Husain Abdullah and Sanford gave way at times to Tyrell Johnson and Raymond and Minnesota used varying combinations. 4.Ponder might be having nightmares about Charles Woodson. The Vikings offense has no answer for Woodson. The cornerback made the two biggest plays, intercepting Ponder twice in the first meeting. He was all over the field again Monday. He had almost had two interceptions; one was overturned by replay and another went right through his hands. He was also in Ponder's face repeatedly on blitzes and disrupted the run game. Woodson made nine tackles, had three pass deflections and forced several bad throws from Ponder, who completed only 47 percent of his passes. Ponder took a step back after leading Minnesota to a win at Carolina before the bye. Ponder was inaccurate, hitting on 16 of his 34 pass attempts for 190 yards and was intercepted once. 5.The Vikings don't fare well in the spotlight. Four weeks ago, Minnesota played at Chicago on Sunday night football and had the most disappointing performance of the season before tonight. The Vikings lost 39-10 against the Bears which started the full-time move to rookie Christian Ponder at quarterback. Monday night was Minnesota's worst performance with the rookie under center. From the first series of the game, the Vikings seemed ill prepared for the juggernaut Packers and the big-game atmosphere of playing at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football. There were penalties, offensive and special team's gaffes, missed tackles, players were slipping and undisciplined and Minnesota showed how far it's truly fallen since playing in the NFC championship game less than two years ago and how far behind in talent it is compared to the NFL's top team. The Vikings have lost their last five Monday Night Football games.
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