For all the passing accolades the Packers receive, their running game isn't much of a threat. In fact, QB Aaron Rodgers might be their biggest running threat.
In each of the last two seasons, Aaron Rodgers
has ranked second on the team in rushing.
The league's premier passing quarterback this season is moving closer to assuming that No. 2 spot on the Packers' rushing chart again.
Rodgers' career-high-tying 52 yards in the 45-38 win at the San Diego Chargers
on Sunday has the athletic QB within striking distance of the subpar numbers produced by starting halfback Ryan Grant
Grant is in the midst of a downturn the last several weeks, not only with his production but also with his playing time in what has been since the start of the season a platoon with James Starks
. After breaking out for 92 yards in 17 carries in the Week 3 victory at the Chicago Bears
, Grant missed the next game because of a kidney bruise and subsequently has generated a total of only 88 yards in 29 carries the last four contests.
The fifth-year veteran, who missed all but one game in 2010 because of an ankle injury, played sparingly in Sunday's game and had just four carries for 16 yards.
Starks, meanwhile, played more than 75 percent of the snaps when a halfback was on the field in that game and had 13 carries for 66 yards.
Despite the big disparity in playing time, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin gave an answer of "not necessarily" when asked Monday whether Starks has become the team's lead back.
"Sometimes, (running backs coach) Jerry (Fontenot) has a feel of who's hot and who's not," Philbin said. "I thought Ryan contributed nicely, played hard. James popped one run (for 20 yards) and maybe just made a little more of his opportunities."
Since making his only start of the season in Grant's absence in Week 4, Starks has averaged nearly 13 carries and amassed 293 yards in the last five games going into a Monday night matchup against the Minnesota Vikings
Even Rodgers has outperformed Grant on the ground of late, scrambling for 110 yards the last five games. His big effort Sunday included a 25-yard run.
"I don't mind," head coach Mike McCarthy said of Rodgers' pulling the football down to escape trouble. "When he runs out there and there's nobody (on defense) there, that's a positive. So, it's good defensive recognition on Aaron's part and just taking advantage of how (teams are) playing our receivers."
Rodgers, who is dominating several passing categories this season, has rushed for 127 yards to rank third on the team. Grant isn't far ahead with 245 yards. Starks is the team leader with 440.
DE Mike Neal is scheduled to practice for the first time in the regular season Thursday, when the team begins its on-field preparations for Monday's game. Neal suffered cartilage damage in his left knee during training camp and underwent surgery Sept. 13. He probably will need some time before being cleared for any type of game action in the coming weeks.
OT Chris Campbell was signed to the practice squad Tuesday. The 6-foot-5, 328-pound Campbell, a first-year player, spent all but one week on Green Bay's practice squad last season and then was released by the team before the start of this season. C/G Paul Fenaroli was cut from the practice squad to make room for Campbell.
QB Aaron Rodgers has staked his claim as the league's best quarterback after the first half of the season in overwhelming fashion. Rodgers' passer rating of 129.1 is nearly 29 points ahead of second-place Drew Brees (100.6) of the New Orleans Saints. Rodgers also leads the league with 24 touchdown passes and a completion percentage of 72.5 -- Brees also is No. 2 in those categories with 21 and 71.0, respectively. Rodgers, who also has a league-low three interceptions among regular starters, matched a career high with four touchdown passes in Sunday's win.
WR Greg Jennings is among the league leaders in touchdown catches (six, tied for second), receptions (48, fourth) and receiving yards (723, sixth). Jennings had a season-low 46 receiving yards Sunday but led the team with six catches, including a four-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
WR Jordy Nelson had his second 100-yard receiving game in the last three outings with five receptions for 105 yards, highlighted by a 64-yard catch on a deep ball from Rodgers in the final quarter to set up the Jennings TD. Nelson, who also had 16-yard scoring catch in the game, ranks second on the team with 570 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
TE Jermichael Finley is back to being on a scoring binge. He has a touchdown catch in each of the last two games, including a five-yard grab Sunday, and is tied with Nelson with the five TDs after Finley previously went three straight games without a touchdown. Finley's five receptions Sunday was his highest since he had a season-best seven (with three touchdowns) in the Week 3 win at Chicago.
CB Charles Woodson is tied with the New England Patriots' Kyle Arrington and the San Diego Chargers' Eric Weddle for the league lead with five interceptions. Woodson is on pace at the halfway point of the season for his first season of having double-digit picks in his 14-year career.
SS Charlie Peprah is nipping at the heels of Woodson and the others on the NFL leader board with a career-high four interceptions. Peprah had the first two-interception game of his six-year career Sunday, returning the first for a 40-yard touchdown in the first quarter and running back the second 76 yards to the Chargers' 6-yard line in the closing seconds of the game to seal the victory.
K Mason Crosby leads the league with 15-for-15 accuracy on field goals this season. Only two other kickers are at 100 percent with at least 10 field goals made -- Jacksonville's Josh Scobee (14-of-14) and Atlanta's Matt Bryant (12-of-12).
RB James Starks was on point with his averages of the previous four games, running the football 13 times Sunday for 66 yards, a slight bump from the clip of 56.8. Starks has recorded a season-high 13 carries in all but one of the last five games and leads the team with 440 rushing yards.
RB Ryan Grant, who remains the starter in the two-back rotation, had another insignificant outing. Grant played sparingly and finished with only four carries for 16 yards. He has produced all of 88 yards in 29 carries (3.0 average) the last four games.