The Viking Ship - Week 4: Hey Packers, Remember this guy?
By: Christopher Torola
If you're a Viking, Packer, or just plain good football fan this game has been circled on your calender since #4 put on that purple jersey. Before we look at the match up, it is probably a good idea to remind those in Green Bay why they miss Favre. Two weeks ago the Packers were marching down the field in the last seconds of a game against the Bengals. They had no time outs but Aaron Rodgers was leading the way, moving the team down field for that final shot at the end zone. They came up short. Now jump forward to yesterday, week 3, the Vikings against the 49ers. In a game that San Francisco had been able to hold Adrian Peterson in check, or at least as much is possible with Adrian Peterson. The Vikings have 89 seconds, no time outs, and 80 yards to score. Brett Favre and team masterfully work their way up the field, taking what the defense is giving them. With 12 seconds left on the clock Favre scampered to the right and threaded the needle to the Greg Lewis, who made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone, dragging his back leg for the score and the win. Lewis is 5th on the Vikings' wide receiver depth chart and was only in the game because of an injury to the punt returner Darius Reynaud.
By now we have all seen the "We'll never forget you Brent" T-shirts. Yes I know that says Brent, thats the joke. Its funny to me when I hear those who referred to Favre as "the best quarterback ever" talk about how washed up he is. Admittedly, it's also fun to hear all those Vikings fans starting to fall in love with him after a lifetime of distain. At least I can stand by what I always said when he wore the Green and Mustard, "I can't stand him, but I would love him if he played for my team."
This Monday night we get to see for the first time, Favre taking on his old team. This will be an interesting game with plenty to watch.
- Brett Favre against the Packer's poor pass defense. There is currently only 5 teams in the NFL that have allowed more passing touchdowns than the Packers. You have to imagine that they will be salivating to get picks on their old QB. If this causes the corners and safeties to try jump some routes, it could lead to big plays, and Favre proved last week that he can still throw the long ball.
- The Metrodome vs Green Bay QBs. Favre had some of his worst games at the Metrodome early in his career. Aaron Rodgers' first game at the dome didn't go so well either. He was 15-26 and only 142 yards and no touchdowns. The game was still close thanks to 3 Green Bay picks, one for a score, and a Packer's punt return for a score. That being said, Aaron Rodgers is starting to blossom into one of the elite QBs in the NFL. Look for a possible big game out of Rodgers in what could possibly turn into a high scoring affair.
- Adrian Peterson vs the Pack. His first game against the Packers he was hurt and ended up missing time. His last game he went for 225 total yards including the game winning touchdown. Peterson has been somewhat kept in check the last two games. This year the Packers have given up only one score on the ground, but are near the bottom third in the league when it comes to rushing yards allowed. Look for another big game from Peterson, as the Packers may focus too heavily on Favre.
- The continued maturation of Percy Harvin. After his 101 yard kick off return for a score, Harvin is the first Viking to score a touchdown in his first 3 NFL games. Yes, that is something that Randy Moss did not do in his record setting rookie year for the Vikings. Brett Favre was quoted as saying, "It's pretty electric when he gets it. You just need to find a way to get the ball in his hands." When your quarterback feels that you need to get the ball in your hands... it's a good thing.
- Ryan Grant vs the Williams Wall. If I am not mistaken, Ryan Grant was the last player to run for 100 yards on the Vikings, Nov. 11th, 2007. Grant has only 3.7 yards a carry so far this year and may not pose much of a threat, but when looking at rivalry games like this you never know what to expect, and the Vikings run defense has shown some signs of weakness lately.
- Vikings O-line vs the Packer pass rush. It should not be overlooked that the Vikings have guys on the line that are first year starters... and it is showing. Favre has ben sacked 9 times this year, and has been hit seemingly every third pass play. Green Bay has only 5 sacks this year, but may have their ears pinned back for a chance to get their hands on the Silver Fox (Jarred Allen's nickname for Favre).
This has the makings of a great game, and should be hyped up all week... at least once the sports shows are done hyping up the game winning drive. I expect this to be a close game, but the home team should prevail. Look for Adrian Peterson to attempt to exert his will on the big Monday Night stage.