Notebook: Allen Awaits Rematch

Jared Allen wants another shot at Chad Clifton, plus much more as the Packers wrapped up their prep for Sunday's game at MInnesota.

When the Green Bay Packers hosted the Minnesota Vikings last month, left tackle Chad Clifton mostly handled defensive end Jared Allen by himself.

Allen hopes the Packers do the same in Sunday's rematch at Mall of America Field.

"Clifton is a good player," Allen told reporters at Winter Park on Friday. "We've had battles. I was just watching ‘08 film back from when I first played there on Monday night to the difference from when we played them in here. He got the better half of me there and I got the better half of him here. It's always fun. I hope I get one-on-one opportunities because I think that here puts it to my advantage."

Allen had 7.5 sacks against the Packers alone last season — with Clifton missing both games — en route to his third consecutive season of at least 14.5 sacks. Allen has just 5.5 sacks this season, but 4.5 of those have come in the last two weeks.

"I told you guys not to worry. There's a lot of circumstances that lead to sacks," Allen said. "A) You've got to get the guy to the ground. I don't know how many I've missed this year. I missed two in the Green Bay game. In that Arizona game, they had to spread the ball out and they had to go down the field. They couldn't check the ball down. They held the ball a little longer. That starts some momentum, gives you some confidence that gets you out of that so-called slump. Then I had a good game against Chicago. It's one of those things — you keep plugging away."

The crowd noise in Minnesota gives the Vikings' pass rushers an advantage. To combat that during practice, the Packers blast crowd noise into the Hutson Center and the line drills are slanted toward the defense.

"We'll even drill sometimes in a silent situation where you'll see the defensive guy in the drill moving first and the offensive guy's got to respond," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "I think that's helpful. Peripheral vision, with guys looking in at the football, that's all a part of it. That's something that we bang home to the guys in this type of game."

Less is more

Coach Mike McCarthy went to his "winter schedule" this week, meaning practices have been shortened by about 15 minutes. It's all in his effort to make sure his players are as fresh as possible for Sundays.

"I just think you get to this point in the year you have to look at this as a 12-round fight. Technically a 16-round fight," he said. "You can only take so many body blows, and practice reps definitely factors into that. The winter schedule is something that I've always done, something I've always believed in. Because it's more about quality right now. Quantity, you have to be smart, and I think we do a good job of that with our scheduling, but the quality needs to be better than it's been in our first nine games."

Whether it shows up on Sunday or not, McCarthy said he "felt good" about the week of preparation.

Packers injury report

Questionable: WR Donald Driver (quad); FB Korey Hall (back); DE Ryan Pickett (ankle). Probable: LB Desmond Bishop (hip); LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder); T Chad Clifton (knee); CB Pat Lee (ankle); LB Clay Matthews (shin); TE Andrew Quarless (shoulder); C Scott Wells (arch); CB Charles Woodson (toe).

Only Hall did not participate, and Bishop was added to the list but says he's fine. McCarthy said Driver ran a couple of deep routes, and how he and Pickett feel on Saturday will go a long way toward determining their availability for Sunday.

Vikings injury report

Out: S Eric Frampton (hamstring). Questionable: WR Bernard Berrian (groin); G Anthony Herrera (elbow); C John Sullivan (calf). Probable: CB Asher Allen (concussion); CB Chris Cook (knee); QB Brett Favre (ankle/foot); WR Percy Harvin (ankle); S Jamarca Sanford (hamstring).

The decision on whether to activate wide receiver Sidney Rice will be made on Saturday, coach Brad Childress said. Childress said Rice feels better this week. The Vikings don't have to make a final decision — activate or injured reserve — until Tuesday, but Childress hinted that Rice will either play on Sunday or he'll be shut down for the year.

"I think you have to prepare as if you're going to see him, and if you don't, you move on," Capers said. "When you play each other twice a year, you get to know them pretty well and they get to know you pretty well. You don't have to look very hard to see what Harvin's meant to them. He's just become a bigger and bigger factor in their offense."

Four-point stance

— The big story of the day nationally was Nike's wild new uniforms, which would be used once it becomes the league's official supplier in 2012. However, the league said it was all a hoax — even though the Baltimore Ravens' ran a blog post with photos on their Web site.

— The Bears jumped into first place by beating Miami 16-0 on Thursday. Not that McCarthy cared. "I didn't watch the game. I had zero interest in watching the game. I know it's important. Chicago is playing very well. I had a chance to watch that on Sunday. We'll have an opportunity to see them again here at Lambeau. But there's so much that's going to happen between now and then. Our focus is clearly on Minnesota. I don't talk about it to our football team. I hope they're not even thinking about it. They need to be thinking about Minnesota because that's who I'm thinking about."

— Allen, on the home crowd, which has started to turn on, at least, Childress: "Playing at home is always an advantage. You've got the energy of the crowd — please don't boo us. I know we haven't won but we've given you some good years the last couple years too."

— In the latest odds from Bodog.com, the Packers, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Falcons and Patriots are tied with 8-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The Packers, however, are a slight favorite (7-2) over Atlanta (4-1) to win the NFC. "Unlike no other year that I can remember, we have had over 10 teams as Super Bowl favorites at some point this year,' Bodog sportsbook manager Richard Gardner said.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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