Next Opponent: Minnesota Vikings

We take our first look at the Vikings as we gear up our coverage leading to the game of the year. Minnesota, which could be without star corner Antoine Winfield, is downplaying the importance of this Lambeau Field showdown.

Coming off their first loss of the season Sunday, the Vikings will get ready for what they will try to convince everyone is just another game.

Of course, it will be anything but that as Minnesota will face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The game will mark Brett Favre's first appearance in the stadium as a visitor.

Favre spent 16 seasons building a Hall of Fame resume with the Packers before an ugly divorce ended with him being shipped to the New York Jets in the summer of 2008.

Favre landed with the Vikings in August when he ended his second attempt at retirement and signed with the Packers' archrival. So what type of reception is he going to receive? That's the million-dollar question, considering many in Wisconsin consider Favre to be a traitor and others remain loyal to him.

Asked if he will change anything going into this game, coach Brad Childress gave what is sure to be the response from everyone at Winter Park this week.

"It's just a divisional opponent that you're playing for the second time in a relatively close period of time," he said. "We have common opponents. They played Detroit and Cleveland, we played those same people back-to-back, and they had a bye. So in terms of evidence, there's only going to be a couple more games of evidence for us. Maybe three.

"But we know each other pretty well. I'm sure there will be a few different sprinkles. They aren't going to open in the wishbone or anything like that. They're going to use the players they feel they have and a little different match this time with the people we have."

Favre, whose Vikings dropped to 6-1 with a defeat at Pittsburgh, might be helped by the fact he beat the Packers once this season, leading the Vikings to a 30-23 victory in a Monday night game this month at the Metrodome. Favre played it cool before that game but admitted afterward he was extremely nervous.

It's hard to believe there won't be some nerves at work again.

Winfield might miss game

Both teams could be without one of their big-time stars.

Green Bay figures to be without tight end Jermichael Finley, who had a monster game at Minnesota. Meanwhile, reports circulated Sunday that the Vikings will be without Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield for four-to-six weeks because of an injury to his right foot. Winfield, however, wasn't buying that after sitting out the Vikings' 27-17 loss to the Steelers, saying he is day-to-day.

That might have been a bit optimistic, considering Winfield continues to wear a walking boot on the foot. He suffered the injury Oct. 18 in the first half against Baltimore and missed Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.

"It feels a lot better," Winfield said. "I was on crutches (until Friday). Now I'm in the boot. I'm walking on it and not feeling any pain, so my goal is to get back out here and play against the Packers."

Winfield's injury did have a bit of good timing to it because the Vikings will have their bye week following Sunday's game.

There is little doubt opposing quarterbacks will go after Winfield's replacements. Minnesota used Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah and rookie Asher Allen at various times in different defensive packages, with Sapp or Paymah playing in Winfield's spot at the left corner and Allen playing in nickel. That trio held up well against the Steelers, though.

Notes and quotes

Bernard Berrian has not been surprised by the play of fellow wide receiver Sidney Rice, who has had back-to-back 100-yard games.

"Sidney has always been good. I think his problem was just being healthy and staying on the field," Berrian said. "Now that he's healthy and staying on the field, he put in a lot of work this offseason, and it's paying off for him."

— Linebacker Ben Leber said the Vikings remain extremely upbeat despite being handed their first defeat.

"We are 6-1," Leber said. "We have a tough game next week, on the road again. I think we learned a lot from being on the road here in a hostile environment. We'll take those lessons into next week, and I think we're going to put this game behind us pretty quickly and move onto Green Bay."

— Rice didn't disagree that the Vikings were undisciplined at times Sunday in taking a season-high 11 penalties.

"You can call it that," he said. "Everybody on this team is responsible and accountable, and that's just something we've got to get back to. I feel like self-inflicted wounds are the worst. We can't kill ourselves. We will continue to work on those things, try to get everything down and just continue to move on."

— Berrian suffered what was believed to be a left hamstring injury Sunday and was getting treatment Monday afternoon. It's not known if Berrian is in jeopardy of missing Sunday's game at Green Bay.

— Favre said he felt OK after Sunday's game despite being sacked four times and thrown to the ground by LB James Harrison on the final play of the afternoon.

— WR Percy Harvin continues to play despite continually aggravating a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago in St. Louis. Harvin re-injured the shoulder on Oct. 18 against Baltimore and took another big hit Sunday at Pittsburgh that made it difficult for him to take his shoulder pads off after the game.

— WR Darius Reynaud's status remains uncertain. He hasn't played since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3, and it will be interesting to see if the Vikings try to get him back involved now that Berrian appears to be battling his own hamstring issue.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


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.


Packer Report Top Stories