The Vikings and Green Bay Packers meet Sunday at Mall of America Field in the first meeting since the Packers beat the Vikings 31-3 last November in the game that got Brad Childress fired and Leslie Frazier promoted to interim coach.
"I just hope all of our fans don't sell their season tickets to Packer fans," defensive end Jared Allen said after Sunday's 39-10 loss at Chicago. "We have got to go back to work to play the spoiler card and knock off as many teams as we can along the way."
The Vikings were thrashed in Chicago in prime time from the opening kick.
Unable to beat the Bears' max-protect game plan or stop their running game, the Vikings' defense allowed Matt Forte to average 5.1 yards a carry and Jay Cutler to throw for two touchdowns and a 115.9 passer rating while being sacked only one time. Cutler entered the game having been sacked 70 times in his past 20 regular-season games.
"It's humiliating," defensive end Brian Robison said. "That's the only word I can think of right now. Humiliating."
Offensively, the Vikings' utter lack of a passing attack meant Adrian Peterson was easily stuffed by eight- and nine-man lines that begged Donovan McNabb and the receivers to beat them. Peterson was held to 39 yards on 12 carries (3.3 average), while McNabb was replaced by rookie first-round draft pick Christian Ponder with 14 minutes, 43 seconds left and the Vikings trailing 39-10.
Stuck at 1-5, trailing the Packers by five games and desperately seeking public support for a new stadium, the Vikings are weighing the likelihood of starting Ponder against the Packers on Sunday.
"We have to sit down and talk about a lot of things," Frazier said. "We need to decide on what direction we want to go."
Allen knows which direction the team has to go as it prepares for a three-week stretch that sees them play the Packers at home, the Panthers in Carolina and the Packers again in Lambeau Field on "Monday Night Football" after the bye.
"Up," Allen said. "That's the only place we can go right now."
LINEUP WATCH: Center John Sullivan and strong safety Jamarca Sanford suffered concussions and will have to pass medical exams before being allowed to practice or play. That means backups Joe Berger at center and Tyrell Johnson at strong safety might have to start against the Packers. Berger is a veteran who might be able to play just as well as Sullivan has. Of course, Sullivan has struggled. Johnson lost the starting strong safety job to Sanford before the season began.
BY THE NUMBERS: 31-3 is the thumping the Packers put on the Vikings at the Metrodome last November. The Vikings fell to 3-7 as players bickered amongst each other and with coaches on the sideline during the rout. Aaron Rodgers threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns, three to Greg Jennings, as the Packers humiliated the home team and gave a large Packer fan contingent plenty to gloat about as Vikings fans emptied the stadium. Coach Brad Childress was fired the next morning.
— RT Phil Loadholt bruised a knee in the third quarter and didn't return. He was replaced by Pat Brown, who gave up a sack and a lot of pressure.
— DE Jared Allen added to his NFL sacks lead with one sack. He has 9.5 on the season and at least one sack in eight consecutive games. The latter ties a team record held by Jim Marshall and Carl Eller.
— CB Cedric Griffin continues to give up big plays. He was beaten badly by Devin Hester on a 48-yard touchdown pass on the Bears' first possession. He also was beaten for a 17-yard pass to Roy Williams the play before. Hester later beat him for a 23-yard completion on third-and-13.
— WR Bernard Berrian returned to the field a week after being a surprise game-day inactive. He didn't start and he's lost some playing time to Devin Aromashodu, but Berrian caught five passes for 54 yards, including a 30-yarder. He entered the game with two catches on the season.
— QB Joe Webb saw a few snaps in the Vikings' version of the Wildcat. However, the athletic Webb wasn't effective, going 0-for-1 passing and running once for 1 yard.
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