Packers-Vikings: Key matchups

Driver vs. Winfield; Kampman vs. Cook; Barnett vs. Peterson

Packers MLB Nick Barnett vs. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
Barnett hasn't played flawless football the first three weeks, but he's been a terror in both run defense and pass coverage. He leads the team with 32 tackles. He'll be on the spot again for the third time in four weeks tracking a dynamic back out of the backfield.

Barnett was a big reason why the defense neutralized the Eagles' Brian Westbrook in Week 1 and mostly bottled up the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson in Week 3, punctuated by Barnett's late interception intended for LT to help seal Green Bay's upset win. Peterson is playing beyond his rookie status and will be a load with which to contend as both a runner and a receiver. He accounts for 40 percent of the Vikings' offensive touches.

Packers WR Donald Driver vs. Vikings CB Antoine Winfield
Rivalry week started with Winfield's expressing a desire to shadow Driver the entire game. Driver welcomes the attention and comes in with his own agenda -- he wants to be on the receiving end of Brett Favre's next touchdown pass, which will eclipse Dan Marino's league record of 420. Since Winfield's arrival in Minnesota in 2004, Driver has been next to unstoppable with 49 catches for 746 yards and five touchdowns in seven meetings, including three straight 100-plus-yard receiving games at the Metrodome. Winfield has only one interception to his credit in the previous encounters. So much for an even matchup.

Even if Winfield is put on Driver all day, it doesn't mean CB Cedric Griffin won't be busy. It's likely Favre will go at Griffin, and Greg Jennings figures to be the primary target. Jennings caught four passes for 82 yards, including a touchdown, last Sunday in the Packers' victory over San Diego and will present Griffin with a difficult challenge. Griffin hasn't been as effective in coverage this season as he was during his rookie year and also has struggled with his tackling.

Vikings RT Ryan Cook vs. Packers DE Aaron Kampman
Cook has had his problems this season and that is likely to continue as he goes against Packers Pro Bowler Kampman. Kampman has only one sack this season after leading the NFC with 15.5 sacks.

Three of those came in the Packers' victory over the Vikings in December. Cook, a center throughout his collegiate career, remains new to the tackle spot and is probably being asked to bite off more than he can handle. Kampman, no doubt, is licking his chops.


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