Packer-Vikings notes: Some good news on a bad day

Sack attack: One trend that started in Chicago continued Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Pack's sack attack was going full-throttle, coming up with four vs. the Vikings in the first-round playoff game.<P>

The much-maligned Packer pass rush produced eight sacks last week against a helpless Chad Hutchinson in the regular-season finale at Soldier Field Jan. 2. Despite that breakout performance, few could have forseen an encore performance vs. the extremely athletic and elusive Culpepper.

Matthew Hawthorne broke through for a big sack on third down that was one of the plays that kept the Vikings from from breaking it open. Darren Sharper and Grady Jackson shared a sack while Kenny Peterson and R-Kal Truluck each had one.

Limping at Lambeau: Sunday's loss drops the Packers' post-season record at Lambeau to a merely mortal 12-2, including two losses in the past three seasons. Counting the loss to the Vikings, the Packers finished 4-5 at Lambeau Field. The regular-season mark was the first time Green Bay had a non-winning record at Lambeau since 1991 when they won only one game in Green Bay.

Meanwhile, the Vikings won their first post-season game for the first time since Jan. 6, 2001 and their first post-season road win since 1997.

Injuries: Within a couple minutes of eachother, two of the Packers' first-half offensive stars left the game with injuries. Javon Walker suffered a bruised left shin and appeared to be in considerable pain after making a key first down catch in the red zone in the second quarter. Walker hobbled off the field where medical staff wrapped the leg. His return was announced as questionable, but the receiver returned to the game on the next series. Unfortunately, his first play back resulted in an interception due to Walker not ending up at the end of his route when the ball arrived.

Could the injury have affected Walker's route-running ability? It's possible, because in the third quarter the wide out was taken from the sidelines on a cart and pronounced out for the rest of the game.

Running back Najeh Davenport provided a spark on kickoff returns and a key first down before aggravating his shoulder injury. He had to leave the game in the second quarter to to the lockerroom for x-rays.

Davenport returned and played in obvious pain. He lowered his injured shoulder and blasted through the Vikings' line to score a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and pull the Packers to within 24-17.

Chad Clifton suffered an ankle injury on the third interception, setting off a domino effect. Mike Wahle moved to left tackle, Grey Ruegamer to left guard, and newcomer Scott Wells took Ruegamer's place at center.< p> "Those were difficult challenges, to be sure," Sherman said. "Walker and Clifton are pro-bowl caliber players and Najeh is a rising star, but that wasn't why we lost the game. We should have put ourselves in the position we were in in the first place. "

For Minnesota, the most signifigant injury was to Moe Williams, who suffered a sprained right ankle in the second quarter.

Randy Moss left the game early, but this time with a good reason. He sprained his ankle early in the fourth quarter, left briefly for treatment, came back to the sidelines, but then headed back toward the tunnel with about 12 minutes remaining in the game. He must have changed his mind, because Moss returned minutes later, and on his first play back in the game he burned cornerback Al Harris for a long touchdown pass.


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