The Green Bay Packers have played the division rival Minnesota Vikings twice in the last five weeks of the NFL regular season. In both of those games, the Packers’ defense gave up 199 rushing yards or more to NFL MVP candidate Adrian Peterson. Green Bay was able to come out on top in their Week 13 showdown, but failed to put away Minnesota in the regular-season finale.
Only one week after losing to the Vikings in Minnesota, the Packers will face Peterson and company once again in the NFC Wild Card round. Heading into this playoff game, the Packers’ defense have one goal and that is to contain the best running back in the NFL from running all over them once again.
Linebacker Clay Matthews was adamant about the Packers’ plans to contain Peterson via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today:
“We aren’t giving up 200 again,” Matthews said Wednesday.
“We want to take (Peterson) out of the mix. That’s definitely the game plan,” Matthews said. “If we can limit those carries and force Ponder to beat us, then that’s the game plan we’re going to play. We need to do a better job of stopping the run, and we will do that. And that will help us get after the quarterback.”
In the regular-season finale last week in Minnesota, Peterson rushed for 199 yards and came nine yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. Even though Peterson narrowly missed the rushing record, the veteran running back singlehandedly led the Vikings to a playoff berth in the NFC.
Although Peterson will almost certainly be a major force for Minnesota against Green Bay this weekend, it remains to be seen whether or not he can continue to produce at a high level and if quarterback Christian Ponder can play as well as he did last week.
With Ponder had a solid performance against the Packers throwing for 234 yards, three touchdowns with no interceptions. Ponder has been extremely streaky this season, but if he can have a repeat performance again the Packers, the Vikings might have a decent chance of pulling off the upset at Lambeau Field.