Stopping The Run and The Vikings

Middle linebacker Bernardo Harris talked about Green Bay's run defense and the Minnesota Vikings before practice Wednesday.

How much did Daunte Culpepper mean to the Vikings' running game when you played them on Oct. 21, and what will that mean to the Packers with Culpeppe not playing on Sunday?

"It will mean a great deal because he hurt us. He was able to make some big scrambles on third downs. He was able to keep the clock moving, keep the sticks moving. He made some big plays. Without him, we still have to worry about a younger quarterback, fresh legs. They have a tendency to want to run and not stay in the pocket if they see something that's not there.

"We don't know who we're going to get at quarterback. It's a matter of us going out there and executing and not letting him have a career day."

What does it do to you personnally when opponents rush for over 100 yards against the Packers?

"It makes for a long week, a long after-game process. You hate to have anybody run the ball against you. That's physical football. We pride ourselves on being a run-stopping defense that plays physical. We have effort to the ball and when you have effort to the ball, you pride yourself on that. You should not let guys break that many long runs against you, or have any success against you. But it happens, and it's something we have to improve on. Hopefully, it doesn't happen again. That's not playoff football. You cannot win in the playoffs giving up that kind of running yardage."

Who has the advantage on a slick field – the offense or defense?

"The offensive guys, especially if (a running back) is going fast and trying to get to the corner on a run. We talk about coming into balance and being in the tackling position, but all this guy is trying to do is run as fast as he can to get around the corner. So, we have to react to a cut that he makes. It's a reaction thing. I think (the advantage) is more to them because, you know, we have guys pushing on us, and we have to get off our block and get to the ball. When (the running back) gets the ball, he's looking for daylight."

With Randy Moss and Cris Carter, is the running game still an emphasis for the defense?

"It should be, it has to be. We have to focus on that. That's what we focus on every week. We have to focus on upfront, control the line of scrimmage and making plays."

For the Packers to make a run in the playoffs, is it up to the defense or offense?

"They always say, "Defense wins championships." People always talk about the Bears' defense as far as being a great defense doing this or doing that. We're rated higher than the Bears defense. We've outplayed the Bears defense the two times we've played (and beat) this year. But all the mention is about their defense getting them to where they are. That might be a knock on their offense because their offense doesn't do too much.

"We know if we want to get to New Orleans and win a Super Bowl, our defense has to be a dominant force."

Could the Vikings be a dangerous team to play because they're out of the playoffs and may play a little more recklessly?

Harris: "I think there will be some young guys out there who will be given a chance to show that they can play in this league. They want a taste of the rivalry, see what it's about playing in Lambeau, playing against the Packers. That could be a dangerous thing, but the main thing is we have to go in there and set the tone. Let them know that we're here to win the game and that's it's not going to be an easy day for them at Lambeau. If we do that, regardless of how they play, we'll be successful."


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