Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/15/11
The Minnesota Vikings equaled the worst loss in team history on Monday night, losing 45-7 to the undefeated Green Bay Packers. The Vikings and Packers have been longtime rivals, meeting up over 100 times. Nothing about the two current teams constitutes a rivalry though. Green Bay just gave Minnesota it's worst loss in the series, is the defending Super Bowl champion and showed there is a pretty wide talent gap between the team at the top of the NFC North and the team headed for one of the top picks in next April's draft. Grading the Vikings' performance at Green Bay on Monday Night Football isn't too tough. Minnesota was a mess in every facet of the game. Running offense: D Adrian Peterson ran for 175 yards against Green Bay in the first meeting of the season. He was held to 51 yards on 14 carries on Monday. Peterson had 46 yards rushing in the first half, but the big early deficit took the Vikings' running game completely out of the game plan. Minnesota averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry, a respectable average. Percy Harvin had three carries for 18 yards. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave had talked about spelling Peterson with backup Toby Gerhart, but Gerhart's lone carry was nullified by a holding penalty. Minnesota wanted to use Peterson to keep the explosive Green Bay offense off the field, but those plans had to be scrapped quickly. Passing offense: F Entering week 10, Green Bay was allowing the 312 yards per game, the second-highest total in the league. The Packers will be a bit better after Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder finished 16 for 34 (47.1 percent) for 190 yards and an interception. Green Bay confused the rookie quarterback with a myriad of blitz packages and Ponder was never able to settle in and find any rhythm. Harvin caught six passes for 52 yards, but they were all of the short variety, the longest a 12-yarder. Ponder stepped up in the pocket to avoid one blitz in the first quarter and hit tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for a 33-yard pass, the type of clutch play Ponder has provided at times this season. There weren't many of those plays on Monday though. Ponder made a poor decision on his one interception throwing a deep ball for receiver Devin Aromashodu among two defenders on a flea-flicker in the second quarter that never had a chance. Ponder was hounded again by Charles Woodson, who had one interception overturned by replay and had another Ponder pass go right through his hands. Woodson also had three pass deflections and was in Ponder's face on several blitzes. One highlight was rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph's one-handed catch snared among two defenders. Run defense: D A glance at the stats, shows Minnesota's run defense held up. But just like in the first meeting, it didn't matter. Green Bay ran for 90 total yards, averaging just 2.9 per carry. The Packers have shown all season they don't really need a running game though. They control games with their efficient passing. Green Bay running back James Starks had 13 carries for 63 yards. Pass defense: F Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is picking apart any defense he faces this season and Minnesota's secondary has been no match. Rodgers completed 23 of 30 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns. In the two games this season between the teams, Rodgers was 47 for 60 for 585 yards and seven touchdowns without throwing an interception. Cornerback Antoine Winfield returned for the first time since week 4, but later left with a broken clavicle and is likely out for the season. Cedric Griffin has not been the same player since returning from his second knee surgery and Chris Cook likely won't play again this season because of his legal troubles. Safety Husain Abdullah suffered a concussion and the Vikings were rotating safeties at the end of the game. Safety Jamarca Sanford was late on Rodger's first touchdown, a perfect strike to Greg Jennings to give Green Bay a 14-0 lead. Jared Allen had another sack to add to his league-leading 13.5 total. Winfield had another sack, but the Vikings secondary is no match for Rodgers and his receivers. Special teams: F After Minnesota went 3-and-out on the opening possession, Chris Kluwe punted to speedy Packers' rookie Randall Cobb. Cobb's 80-yard return for a touchdown set the tone for the entire game. Sanford slipped and was out of position and Cobb was hardly touched on his way to the endzone. Cobb, who also has a kickoff return for a touchdown this season, added a 55-yard kickoff return after fumbling a punt that led to Minnesota's only score. Ryan Longwell's 47-yard field goal was taken away after a false start penalty on Fred Evans. Longwell's first chance into the wind was barely good, and pushed back five yards, Longwell was short on a 52-yard field goal attempt, his fourth miss this season. The usually consistent special teams' groups have even let Minnesota down at times this season. Overall: F Playing against their undefeated "rival" on Monday Night Football, at historic Lambeau Field and coming off the bye week, the Vikings looked ill prepared for the spotlight. They were undisciplined (10 penalties for 80 yards), struggled in every phase of the game, and looked disinterested in the second half. Minnesota was outcoached, outplayed and outclassed. Now at 2-7, the Vikings have to keep from falling apart completely and coach Leslie Frazier has his work cut out for him.
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