Vikings may have opening vs. Packers

The Packers offense dominated Sunday against San Diego, but they have been showing a consistent weakness on the other side of the ball.

The Packers never seem to be in danger when MVP front-runner Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense are throwing up points at a record-setting pace.

Yet, as they reached the midway point of the regular season as only the third reigning Super Bowl champion to start 8-0, Green Bay is living dangerously as it attempts to duplicate the 2007 New England Patriots' 16-0 mastery.

"That's our goal - we just want to make it interesting for the fans," safety Charlie Peprah said in jest after the Packers eked out a 45-38 win at San Diego on Sunday.

Peprah's second interception of the game, which came deep in Green Bay territory in the closing seconds, spared the Packers from coughing up all of a 45-24 lead in the fourth quarter and possibly losing their first game.

"We can't play that type of game," tight end Jermichael Finley lamented. "We've got to close it off."

Although Peprah and cornerback Tramon Williams had interception returns for touchdowns against Philip Rivers in back-to-back series for the Chargers in the opening quarter, the ongoing struggles of Green Bay's pass defense has belied the team's perfect record.

A 385-yard passing day by Rivers, who threw four touchdowns, kept the Packers in uncharted territory. They have allowed a net average of 299.6 passing yards per game, second worst in the league and well ahead of the team's dubious standard of 235.1 yards in 1983 for a full regular season.

"You've got to take the bad with the good, I guess," said Peprah, giving a nod to Rodgers for again bailing out the defense by throwing four touchdown passes to hike his league-best total to 24 this season. "We can enjoy it, but in the film room, it might feel like we lost because we gave up a bunch of stuff. But, it's nothing we can't correct. We'll get it cleaned up."

Green Bay had an extra day this week to do some troubleshooting on defense before it hosts the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

The Packers have been afflicted with a rash of big plays allowed. Opponents have 44 plays of at least 20 yards, including 39 through the air.

By comparison, the Packers surrendered 54 plays of 20 or more yards - 44 by passing - for the entire 2010 season, when they were the league's fifth-rated pass defense.

The saving grace on an almost weekly basis has been the fireworks by the offense. The Packers' 275 points projects to 550 for the season, which would shatter the team record of 461 in 2009 and be just shy of the 2007 Patriots' league-high blitz of 589.

TRENDING: The time share between Ryan Grant and James Starks at halfback has shifted toward the lion's share of the playing time going to Starks. Grant has been the starter since Week 1. Yet, the fifth-year veteran was on the field for only 11 plays from scrimmage in Sunday's win at San Diego and had just four carries for 16 yards. Starks conversely lined up at the spot 36 times and led the team with 66 yards in 13 carries. Since Grant's return from a one-game absence because of a kidney injury, he has just 29 rushing attempts for 88 yards the last four outings, a far cry from Starks' 51 carries for 230 yards in the same span.

BY THE NUMBERS: Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating of 124.5 against the Minnesota Vikings in three straight wins by the Packers since the 2010 season after he lost both meetings in 2009. Rodgers has completed 67 of 95 passes (70.5 percent) for 931 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions in the three games.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" The Packers never seem to be in danger when MVP front-runner Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense are throwing up points at a record-setting pace. Yet, as they reached the midway point of the regular season as only the third reigning Super Bowl champion to start 8-0, Green Bay is living dangerously as it attempts to duplicate the 2007 New England Patriots' 16-0 mastery. \"That's our goal - we just want to make it interesting for the fans,\" safety Charlie Peprah said in jest after the Packers eked out a 45-38 win at San Diego on Sunday. Peprah's second interception of the game, which came deep in Green Bay territory in the closing seconds, spared the Packers from coughing up all of a 45-24 lead in the fourth quarter and possibly losing their first game. \"We can't play that type of game,\" tight end Jermichael Finley lamented. \"We've got to close it off.\" Although Peprah and cornerback Tramon Williams had interception returns for touchdowns against Philip Rivers in back-to-back series for the Chargers in the opening quarter, the ongoing struggles of Green Bay's pass defense has belied the team's perfect record. A 385-yard passing day by Rivers, who threw four touchdowns, kept the Packers in uncharted territory. They have allowed a net average of 299.6 passing yards per game, second worst in the league and well ahead of the team's dubious standard of 235.1 yards in 1983 for a full regular season. \"You've got to take the bad with the good, I guess,\" said Peprah, giving a nod to Rodgers for again bailing out the defense by throwing four touchdown passes to hike his league-best total to 24 this season. \"We can enjoy it, but in the film room, it might feel like we lost because we gave up a bunch of stuff. But, it's nothing we can't correct. We'll get it cleaned up.\" Green Bay had an extra day this week to do some troubleshooting on defense before it hosts the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. The Packers have been afflicted with a rash of big plays allowed. Opponents have 44 plays of at least 20 yards, including 39 through the air. By comparison, the Packers surrendered 54 plays of 20 or more yards - 44 by passing - for the entire 2010 season, when they were the league's fifth-rated pass defense. The saving grace on an almost weekly basis has been the fireworks by the offense. The Packers' 275 points projects to 550 for the season, which would shatter the team record of 461 in 2009 and be just shy of the 2007 Patriots' league-high blitz of 589. The time share between Ryan Grant and James Starks at halfback has shifted toward the lion's share of the playing time going to Starks. Grant has been the starter since Week 1. Yet, the fifth-year veteran was on the field for only 11 plays from scrimmage in Sunday's win at San Diego and had just four carries for 16 yards. Starks conversely lined up at the spot 36 times and led the team with 66 yards in 13 carries. Since Grant's return from a one-game absence because of a kidney injury, he has just 29 rushing attempts for 88 yards the last four outings, a far cry from Starks' 51 carries for 230 yards in the same span. Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating of 124.5 against the Minnesota Vikings in three straight wins by the Packers since the 2010 season after he lost both meetings in 2009. Rodgers has completed 67 of 95 passes (70.5 percent) for 931 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions in the three games. 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