Packers week lacks the pizazz

When the Vikings play the Packers, there is usually all sorts of hype and hyperbole. This time around, there doesn't seem to be much excitement surrounding the Vikings with their 3-6 record and on-the-brink-of-extinction situation.

Packers week in the Twin Cities is ordinarily a time of anticipation for a game between teams with a storied rivalry that have often battled it out for supremacy in the NFC North.

But this time around the week definitely feels lacking.

That's because with the Vikings sitting at 3-6 and coming off a 27-13 loss on Sunday at Chicago, the only focus in Minnesota entering Sunday's game at the Metrodome will be preventing this from becoming a completely lost season.

The reality is it might be too late for that.

Talk of coach Brad Childress possibly losing his job died down a bit last week after the Vikings staged a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat Arizona in overtime but that proved to be only a temporary fix.

The Bears saw to that as they improved to 6-3 and tied Green Bay for first place in the NFC North, putting both three games ahead of the Vikings.

If Chicago delivered a punch that has the Vikings on their heels, then the Packers are going to get the chance to deliver the knockout blow that could leave most in Minnesota focusing on the April draft and who the next coach might be.

Vikings players attempted to say the right things last Sunday, pointing out that they have the talent to win their final seven games and finish with a 10-6 record. But their words lacked a certain conviction and by Monday a handful of players made their way out of the Winter Park locker room without saying a word to the assembled media throng.

It's likely they simply didn't have many answers for how a team that appeared to be so talented could find itself in this position.

Sunday's game will give the Vikings a chance to prove they are serious about making a push, but it isn't going to be easy.

The Packers will be healthy and well rested coming off their bye week, and Brett Favre, who was brilliant in two victories over his former team last season, threw three interceptions in a 28-24 loss at Green Bay on Oct. 24.

Linebacker Desmond Bishop returned one of those picks 32 yards for a touchdown. The turnovers drew Childress' ire and caused more to question the frigid nature of the Favre-Childress relationship.

Favre has thrown an NFL-high 16 interceptions this season and has 21 of the Vikings' 23 turnovers, if you include his five fumbles.

All of this provides little confidence that the Vikings' back-to-fundamentals approach this week is going to make a right out of what's gone so wrong.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 — Interceptions thrown by Vikings quarterback Brett Favre this season. Indianapolis, Kansas City and Philadelphia have combined for that many.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We pretty much almost have to be flawless now, especially on the wins side. That's just the approach we have to take. We have a tough Green Bay team coming in. They're tied for first in our division. That's the only opponent we can worry about right now. We can't worry about the nine games that we've played before. We've got to worry about the Green Bay Packers this week and Aaron Rodgers and that offense." — Defensive tackle Kevin Williams on the approach the 3-6 Vikings must take at this point.


  • WR Bernard Berrian (groin) did not practice Wednesday and it's not certain if he will play Sunday. Berrian was active for last Sunday's game at Chicago but decided he couldn't play.

  • S Eric Frampton did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday in Chicago. Frampton is a key contributor on special teams.

  • QB Brett Favre was limited in Wednesday's practice because of ankle and foot issues.

  • WR Percy Harvin was limited in practice Wednesday after aggravating his sprained left ankle in Sunday's game. Harvin expects to be good to go against Green Bay this Sunday.

  • RG Anthony Herrera was limited in Wednesday's practice because of an elbow injury.

  • C John Sullivan was limited in Wednesday's practice because of a calf issue.

  • CB Asher Allen, who missed last Sunday's game because of a concussion, remains on the injury report but was full go Wednesday.

  • CB Chris Cook remains on the injury report because of a knee issue but did not miss any practice time.

  • S Jamarca Sanford, who missed last Sunday's game because of a hamstring injury, was able to take part in all of practice Wednesday but remains on the injury report.

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