Sydney Speaks! This is no time to relax!

Minnesota is still a dangerous team at 1-4, and this Sunday's game may set the tone for everything to come for the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings have their backs to the wall with everyone counting them out because of all the off the field problems. Plus, a lot of free agents that they acquired in the off-season aren't getting it done.

Everyone is saying that they are the worst team in the NFL and Mike Tice should be fired, but weren't people saying the same thing about Mike Sherman before the Packers beat the Saints? Believe this:

If the Packers go into the game with the attitude that they are going to jump all over the Vikings fast, the Vikings will quit because in their minds they will be saying, ‘Here we go again.'

The Packers should ram the ball down their throats and unleash Ahman Green early and often for 30 or more carries. By doing this they would take the crowd out of the game and force the Vikings to make a concentrated effort to stop the run. Then Mike Sherman or Tom Rossley (I'm not sure who is really calling the plays) should employ the play-action pass from I-formation sets at least once every series to keep the Vikings off balance.

Remember, the Vikings defense isn't used to playing with each other. Because of their injuries, play-action or movement plays will probably cause confusion. The other thing I would do is to be sure that Brett mixes up the snap count to slow down the Vikings' get-off. Heck, you might even get a free play or two because of an offsides. But the biggest thing I would make sure of is that the Packers move the chains and control the clock. By doing this the offense becomes the best defense because Daunte Culpepper will panic and try and force the tempo when he gets the ball. This will play right into the defense's hands because that's when turnovers happen. In the past field goals weren't good enough, but in this game every chance that the Packers can get points they must because this will put pressure on the Vikings. Plus, Minnesota has had trouble kicking field goals this year.

Green Bay's offense must be a machine against the Vikings and systematically take the ball and be the offense that we saw against the Saints.

The Packers have to play a smart game and make the Vikings beat them, not beat themselves. As a defensive staff they must decide a few things such as do they want Culpepper or the receivers to beat them? Can they cut one of them off? Do they blitz Culpepper and make him try to beat them with his feet and take the receivers away? Or do the Packers sit back, play it safe and make Culpepper try to beat them with his arm? Also, can the defense afford to let Culpepper get into some form of rhythm? Can Green Bay pressure him without blitzing, and if they do blitz, can they cover the receivers?

The Packers have to decide a course of action, then execute it. Also, it will be important if they can make the Vikings a one-dimensional team because if they can take the run away the defensive line can tee off on Culpepper. The line won't have to worry about the run and, instead, try to meet at the quarterback. This would help the secondary out tremendously.

Special teams
These units have to make something happen, or at least not hurt the rest of the team! It's time for these return units to contribute! Whomever is returning the ball, or blocking for the returners, can't be satisfied with being average. It's time to make a difference!!

The Mind-Set
The Packers have to go into Minnesota expecting to get the best the Vikings have to offer. Anything other than that would be absolutely stupid on their part. Minnesota's back is against the wall, but so is Green Bay's. The winner takes a giant step forward and the loser falls into the black hole.

I hope the Packers' coaching staff has warned the players that a wounded animal is the worst type and helped them understand that they control their own destiny. It starts one game at a time. The Packers are just starting to get into the meat of the schedule and they can't afford to let this one slip away. After starting 1-4, the Packers don't have any room to relax!!!!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

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