PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- The Packers had no false starts in the dome. Brett Favre was sacked once. The game plan kept Favre out of harm's way. Favre threw three touchdown passes with a broken thumb. Javon Walker had two touchdown catches of 12 yards. Favre's passer rating was 105.4.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A-plus -- The Packers rushed for 261 yards, their highest total since Week 5 of 1985. Ahman Green was absolutely sensational with 137 yards in 21 carries. It's hard to play the position any better than he's playing it. Backups Najeh Davenport and Tony Fisher were outstanding as well. The offensive line rocked the Vikings' front seven, which is a good group. The Packers ran well to the outside.
PASS DEFENSE: B -- Darren Sharper was beaten in the end zone on a 43-yard bomb to Randy Moss. Otherwise, Daunte Culpepper didn't have another 20-plus completion until he hit Nate Burleson for 24 against a prevent secondary in the final two minutes.
RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Vikings had 125 yards in 25 carries but fell behind and weren't able to call enough runs to control the game. The Packers struggled at the point of attack but at least pursued and closed quickly to prevent any run from rupturing for more than 13 yards. For a change, the safeties were sure tacklers.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Ryan Longwell made all three of his field-goal attempts from 21, 43 and 27 yards. His last kick, with 2:37 left, proved to be the game-winner. Longwell's kickoffs were too short in a dome. Josh Bidwell had two punts, continuing a pattern of too few attempts for him to get in a groove. Returner Antonio Chatman isn't very dynamic but he never screws up.
COACHING: A -- The Vikings were 3-2 (and 5-0 against the spread) in
the last 2 1/2 years against the Packers because they played more inspired
football against their preeminent rival. Finally, coach Mike Sherman got his
team to recognize the venom of the rivalry. His team was prepared physically and
mentally. Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley had a masterful game plan. Defensive
coordinator Ed Donatell found a way to manufacture just enough pressure to keep
Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss from dominating.