Packers notebook

Packers cautious with Green; injury update; another close game in store?

The Packers are of the opinion there's a correlation between giving sore-legged Ahman Green a day off in the middle of the week and having their featured back run like gangbusters on game day. The results bear out the approach that's been taken.

Green has strung together three 100-yard games on the ground since returning from a two-game absence because of sore hamstrings, totaling 346 yards and averaging a healthy 5.6 yards per carry.

It's perhaps hardly a coincidence that Green, who's also been plagued by knee soreness in his comeback season from a torn quadriceps tendon, hasn't practiced the last few Wednesdays.

"It really helps him. I think it keeps the stress off his knee," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's something we talked about initially and then we went through when he came back from the hamstrings. I'm pleased with the way he responds because he's really fresh on Thursday and Friday and has two excellent days of practice. And, I think it also triggers him into the game on Sunday. So, that's something we'll consider doing all year."

Keeping Green fresh has become more paramount because the offense is without reliable backup Vernand Morency. The second-year back has been sidelined since suffering a lower back injury against Arizona on Oct. 29, when he rushed for a career-high 101 yards in a complementary role to Green.

Morency likely will be out again Sunday, when the Packers play at Minnesota. He's on the injury report as doubtful.

The medical staff also is erring on the side of caution with two other starters: WR Greg Jennings and CB Charles Woodson.

Both players are questionable for Sunday with lingering injuries. Jennings aggravated a sprained right ankle in the last game. Woodson has been playing the last couple games with a bruised left knee.

McCarthy said Jennings and Woodson would probably be held out of practice until Friday, at which time a determination will be made on their status for the game.

Injury update
-- FB Brandon Miree likely will miss a second straight game because of a hyperextended left elbow. Miree didn't practice Wednesday and is listed as doubtful on the injury report. William Henderson would start again in Miree's absence.

-- FS Nick Collins is expected to be ready for Sunday's game at Minnesota despite having a bruised lower back, which he sustained last Sunday at Buffalo. The team classified the malady as a kidney injury on the injury report, but tests conducted earlier in the week didn't reveal any significant damage to the kidney. Collins practiced Wednesday and is probable for the game.

-- LT Chad Clifton was a recent newcomer to the injury report Wednesday because of knee and elbow soreness. Clifton practiced, though, and is probable for Sunday.

-- TE Bubba Franks popped up on the injury report because of lingering soreness in a wrist. The struggling starter was sidelined Wednesday but is probable for the game.

-- MLB Nick Barnett was excused from practice Wednesday for unspecified personal reasons. Head coach Mike McCarthy said Barnett is expected to rejoin the team today.

-- DT Johnny Jolly, who was deactivated for the last game after suffering an ankle injury, didn't practice but is probable for Sunday.

Roster move
DE Dave Tollefson was placed on the practice squad/injured list Wednesday. Tollefson, the last of the team's league-high 12 draft picks this year, has been on the practice squad since the start of the season.

S Alvin Nnabuife was signed to the practice squad to take Dave Tollefson's place. The 6-foot, 210-pound Nnabuife originally signed with Oakland as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Methodist in the spring.

Another close game?
For a gambler who wants to press his luck, calling a three-point outcome in Sunday's Packers-Vikings game at Minnesota might prove beneficial. Each of the division rivals' last five meetings, excluding a 31-17 Minnesota victory in the 2004 playoffs, has been decided by three points.

The streak started with a 30-27 Packers win at Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2003, followed by identical 34-31 victories for Green Bay in 2004. The Vikings countered with 23-20 and 20-17 wins last season.

What's more, the last four regular-season meetings came down to a successful field goal at the end of the fourth quarter.

Ryan Longwell, now a Viking, won the 2004 games with field goals of 33 and 29 yards. Paul Edinger drilled kicks of 56 and 27 yards to even the score last year for the Vikings.

"We know he's clutch. That was my nickname for him, 'Clutch Ryan,'" Packers receiver Donald Driver said of former longtime teammate Longwell. "I'm just hoping that he don't make one to win the game on us. I'm hoping that we can take care of our business early on and he'd just be out there sitting on the sideline drinking some Gatorade. We're going to try to keep Ryan off the field."

The Packers-Vikings series is one of only two in the league since 1990 to have four straight regular-season games decided by a field goal in overtime or as time expired in regulation. San Diego and Seattle are in the midst of a similar streak, and the former AFC West rivals will meet Dec. 24 at Seattle.

Extra points
Quarterback Brett Favre is set to make his 250th consecutive start, which includes 20 games in the postseason. By getting to 230 straight starts in the regular season Sunday, Favre will move ahead of former Houston/Tennessee offensive lineman Bruce Matthews for third place on the league's "iron man" list.

Favre will be left to chase the durability streaks of two former Vikings: Mick Tingelhoff (240) and Jim Marshall (270).

-- Defensive end Aaron Kampman, the league's sacks leader with 9.5, still has some work to do to attain a club distinction. Tony Bennett, not Reggie White, has the team record with seven straight games of having at least a partial sack, which Bennett recorded in 1992.

Kampman has notched at least a half sack in the last five games, the first Packer to do so in the same season since White in 1995.

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