Notebook: Clifton Could Face Vikes

The extra day is good news for left tackle Chad Clifton; good news/bad news run defense heading into showdown against Adrian Peterson; plus more from Monday.

Daryn Colledge did OK at left tackle against St. Louis, but he's no Chad Clifton. And with an extra day to get ready for Monday night's showdown at Minnesota, Clifton might be able to play against the Vikings.

"We're going to give him a shot," coach Mike McCarthy said a day after the Packers won at St. Louis 36-17. "He's feeling a lot better, made a lot of progress in the rehab last week. We'll see how he is at the end of the week. He's going to have to practice if he's going to play."

A healthy Clifton would be a huge boost against the Vikings. Clifton has plenty of experience playing in the din of the Metrodome, where more often than not, the left tackle can't hear the quarterback. And lining up at right defensive end will be Jared Allen, who had 14.5 sacks last season — including a sack for a safety in last year's game at Minnesota. Allen has a sack in each of the last two games and has forced two fumbles.

"He's played a lot of football. He's a veteran left tackle," McCarthy said of Clifton. "He's clearly our skill position on the offensive line. But I really just want to see how he comes back off the injury. If he's able to practice at the end of the week, we'll be glad to have him back."

Colledge didn't give up a sack against St. Louis and acquitted himself quite well, but the Rams' Chris Long and James Hall aren't exactly Allen.

"He was better than he was last week, which I expected," offensive line coach James Campen said. "He started out, the first couple of series, he had some difficulty until he got his adjustments made and got his techniques down, but after that, I thought that he did a good job adjusting. It's certainly not the performance that he ultimately would like to have or we'd like to have for him, but he did improve from last week."

The extra day of preparation will be helpful in determining whether Clifton will be available and, as a byproduct, buys a little time for McCarthy and Campen to figure out whether to have Colledge at left guard and Jason Spitz at center or Colledge at left tackle, Spitz at left guard and Scott Wells at center when practice resumes.

"We're all hoping Chad's back," Colledge said. "I know he's excited for the game. He wants to be here. ... I've got a feeling he's going to find a way to be here and he'll be here this week. It's an important game to him, it's an important to our season. I think he knows that."

Up-and-down run defense

With Adrian Peterson up next on the schedule, allowing 117 yards and 4.3 yards against Steven Jackson was a good news/bad news scenario.

Jackson had five runs of at least 10 yards, including a 20-yarder when Brady Poppinga lost leverage on the right side of the defense as Jackson sniffed out a zone blitz to the other side. On the positive side, though, Jackson was held to 3 yards or less on 16 of his 27 carries.

"Fire zones are hit or miss sometimes when you are going against a really good run game," McCarthy said. "We just have to eliminate the double-digit runs."

Still, it was an improvement from last week, when Cedric Benson ran for 141 yards and a 4.9-yard average. It started with the defensive line, which got about 25 snaps from first-round pick B.J. Raji in his NFL debut.

"I thought we improved, I thought we were more violent up front," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. "There's always things that we can do better. There were some runs that hit us that were our responsibility. But that's a National Football League game. They've got players over there, particularly their three inside guys, they've got a couple of them that are really good players. I thought we battled them pretty well in there. We won enough. We've just got to win more."

Injury updates

Safety Atari Bigby (knee) will miss a third consecutive game, and running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) probably won't play, either. Outside linebacker Jeremy Thompson, a core special teams player, missed Sunday's game and is "doubtful for practice this week," McCarthy said.

Four-point stance

— The players will have Tuesday off. Wednesday will include an extensive film review, meetings and jog-throughs but no practice. The players will practice Thursday through Saturday rather than the typical Wednesday through Friday.

— McCarthy was pleased to get a dome game at St. Louis before heading to the Metrodome. "It's a different environment. Turf's different, indoors than outdoors, those types of things. I think the crowd noise will definitely be a lot louder this week at Minnesota than it was in St. Louis."

— When Rodgers scored on a keeper, the play was a run-pass option, McCarthy said, rather than a planned quarterback draw.

— Vikings coach Brad Childress, on the tampering charges filed by the Packers over Brett Favre last summer: "Did I covet him? The good Lord tells us not to covet other people's goods. No, I didn't covet him because he was the property of the Packers."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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