Notebook: Clifton Watches Practice

The veteran left tackle still could play Monday; Driver nears receptions record; plus much more from Thursday.

There's a chance Chad Clifton will line up at left tackle on Monday night at Minnesota, but the same line that played last week at St. Louis — with Daryn Colledge at left tackle — was on the field on Thursday morning in the Hutson Center.

Clifton was listed as "did not participate" on the opening injury report due to a sprained ankle suffered in Week 2 vs. Cincinnati. During the part of practice that was open to reporters, Clifton stood behind the offense wearing a jersey and sweatpants.

"There is a chance, and really the plan for Chad Clifton is just to see how he goes through the rehab today," coach Mike McCarthy said. "There needs to be some type of testing before he practices. He has improved every day, but just like I said the other day, if Chad doesn't practice, he won't play."

After allowing three sacks in his one half at left tackle against Cincinnati, Colledge played much better against the Rams. With another three practices this week — assuming Clifton doesn't play — Colledge knows he needs to raise his level of play with a matchup looming against All-Pro Jared Allen.

"Since I got three practices in the week before, it was about 300 times better. It's a step forward," Colledge said of his performance at St. Louis. "I'm obviously not yet the left tackle I want to be. I still had my mistakes. I still didn't have the best game. I did better, but another three days can't hurt."

Colledge on Monday said he was confident Clifton would play against Minnesota, and he wasn't changing his tune on Thursday, even though Clifton didn't practice.

"I'm always confident in Chad's ability to come back from injury," Colledge said. "Chad's got a lot of resolve and he wants to be out there playing. He knows how important this game is for him and for us. I'm the left tackle until I know otherwise, but for right now, I'm waiting for him to come back, just like everyone else."

Packers injury report

Out — Safety Atari Bigby (knee); running back Brandon Jackson (ankle). Did not participate — Clifton; defensive end Cullen Jenkins (groin); linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee); cornerback Charles Woodson (foot). Full participation — receiver Greg Jennings (wrist).

McCarthy said he anticipates Woodson and Jenkins will be back for practice on Friday.

Vikings injury report

Did not participate — guard Steve Hutchinson (back); receiver Darius Reynaud (hamstring). Limited participation — quarterback Brett Favre (foot); cornerback Cedric Griffin (hand); linebacker Erin Henderson (calf); linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder); tight end Jim Kleinsasser (hand); punter Chris Kluwe (illness); fullback Naufahu Tahi (back).

"I was pretty sore," Favre said Thursday. "Some of it was self-inflicted, though. I still bounce back quickly, not as quickly as I used to. This past week I was hit a little bit more, not to mention there was 80 plays, and not 10 being kneel-downs, killing the clock. It was a fight to the finish. I've never been as beat after a game as I was the other day. I had nothing left, so that had a lot to do with how I felt. It was a physical game. San Francisco is for real, and we're playing the same type of team this week — very fast, smaller defense for the most part, but very aggressive and will hit you."

The back problem is something that the All-Pro Hutchinson has battled since training camp.

Driver four catches from Sharpe

Donald Driver enters Monday's game four catches behind Sterling Sharpe's franchise-record 595 receptions.

Not bad for a seventh-round draft pick who started his career 13th on the receiver depth chart.

"I would have never thought it would happen in my whole career," Driver said. "To be able to play as long as I've played, you think of all the great receivers that played before you and to be close to those guys, and now only five catches away from passing Sterling for all-time, that's big. I'm happy and I know Sterling will probably give me a call to make sure that one way or another I don't get those balls, but I'm going to get them one way or another."

Driver caught most of his passes from Favre. Now, there's a good chance Favre will be a spectator to Driver's big catch. Would that make it any more special?

"I don't know. I'll know when it happens," Driver said. "Right now, it ain't happening. I need five catches, so when that happens, I'll let you know how it feels."

Four-point stance

— Charles Woodson, who has three interceptions — including one returned for a touchdown — and leads the team in tackles, was named the NFC defensive player of the month. Saints quarterback Drew Brees (nine touchdown passes) won the offensive honor and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson (22.2-yard average, one touchdown on punt returns) won the special teams award.

— In his conference call, Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked if it felt like the circus was coming to town: "They're not putting the Big Top over the place or anything like that. I haven't been to a press conference yet, I haven't been in the locker room yet. I know this place isn't vibrating. We're just trying to take care of what we can take care of. If they start leading elephants in here and I start seeing elephants coming out of the window, then I might have something to worry about."

— Johnny Jolly is the first Packer since Doug Evans in 1993 to record an interception, fumble recovery and blocked field goal in the same season.

— The Packers lead the NFL in a plus-8 turnover ratio. The Vikings are tied for fourth at plus-4.


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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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