Grading the game: Packers

The Vikings received F's in four of the six categories measured against the Packers. In short, it was a game to forget, if only they could.

PASSING OFFENSE: F — In his second outing against the Packers in three weeks, Christian Ponder had more incompletions (18) than completions (16), had no touchdowns and one interception. The Vikings did a poor job protecting Ponder, and the team's lack of a legitimate No. 1 receiver was evident again on Ponder's interception. The Vikings tried a flea flicker, but the play had no chance from the get-go. Ponder was a little late launching the ball, but it probably wouldn't have mattered. The player he was throwing to was Devin Aromashodu, who is, at best, a No. 4-type receiver. Aromashodu gives good effort when it comes to battling for the ball, but he doesn't have the physical tools that can create a mismatch on a play like that. None of the Vikings' receivers do. Ponder launched it into double coverage and the ball was easily intercepted during the 45-7 rout.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus — Falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and 24-0 early in the third quarter took Adrian Peterson and the running game out of the equation. The Vikings averaged a respectable 4.7 yards per carry and made the Packers pay for a muffed punt by turning it into Minnesota's only touchdown, a 3-yard run by Peterson. But three weeks after running for 175 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, Peterson was a non-factor with 51 yards rushing just 14 times. Ponder tied Peterson with a team-high 13-yard run. After the coaches said they wanted to get more carries for Toby Gerhart, the No. 2 back didn't touch the ball.

PASS DEFENSE: F — The secondary is in shambles after Antoine Winfield broke his clavicle in what is a season-ending injury. Without Chris Cook, who remains away from the team as he fights a domestic assault charge, the Vikings are down to Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen as their top two corners. Griffin's terrible season continued Monday night with the lowlight being stiff-armed to the ground by Jordy Nelson on a 17-yard touchdown catch that gave the Packers a 24-0 lead. Griffin's strength used to be his tackling, but he's simply not the same player he was before tearing the ACLs in both knees the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, is a former dime back who almost didn't make the team. The team is expected to sign another cornerback on Wednesday, likely Benny Sapp, but for now, the nickel and dime back positions would go to punt returner Marcus Sherels and little-used rookie Brandon Burton. Outmanned against Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 scoring offense on Monday, the Vikings allowed Rodgers to complete 23 of 30 passes for 250 yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers. The shame of it for the Vikings is they actually generated a decent pass rush.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus — The Packers didn't run the ball well, but they didn't need to. They got a big lead early and then went to work on killing the clock. The Packers ran for only 90 yards on 31 carries (2.9). The run defense also had some lapses. For instance, it allowed James Starks to run for 10 yards on third-and-9 from the Packers' 4-yard line right before the end of the first half. A stop there and the Vikings would have had more time and better field position on the ensuing possession.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F — A game in which the Vikings' margin for error already was slim was made even more difficult when the special teams cost the Vikings 10 points in the first quarter. After winning the coin toss, deferring and forcing a three-and-out, the Packers returned the game's first punt 80 yards for a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers hadn't even stepped on the field yet, and Green Bay led 7-0 with 13:42 left in the opening period. Late in the first period, Ryan Longwell's 47-yard field goal was taken off the board because of a false start on Fred Evans. Longwell then came up short on his 52-yard attempt. The Vikings did recover a muffed punt that led to a touchdown. They also downed a punt inside the Packers' 5. But overall it was a very sloppy game that even included an offsides penalty on the opening kickoff of the second half.

COACHING: F — Coach Leslie Frazier said the game would be a measuring stick. And it was. And what the measuring stick said is the Vikings are a long way behind in the NFC North, both in terms of talent and coaching. With 15 days between their last game and Monday night, the Vikings played their sloppiest and most lackluster game of the season. The 38-point margin of defeat was the worst in the 102-game history of the rivalry. The Vikings were dealt a tough hand as a team that was in transition during the 4½-month lockout. Especially when the other three teams in the NFC North had continuity at quarterback, coach and systems. But there is no excuse for being as sloppy and flat as the team was on Monday night. The Vikings had 10 penalties for 80 yards. The Packers had one penalty for 5 yards.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" In his second outing against the Packers in three weeks, Christian Ponder had more incompletions (18) than completions (16), had no touchdowns and one interception. The Vikings did a poor job protecting Ponder, and the team's lack of a legitimate No. 1 receiver was evident again on Ponder's interception. The Vikings tried a flea flicker, but the play had no chance from the get-go. Ponder was a little late launching the ball, but it probably wouldn't have mattered. The player he was throwing to was Devin Aromashodu, who is, at best, a No. 4-type receiver. Aromashodu gives good effort when it comes to battling for the ball, but he doesn't have the physical tools that can create a mismatch on a play like that. None of the Vikings' receivers do. Ponder launched it into double coverage and the ball was easily intercepted during the 45-7 rout. Falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and 24-0 early in the third quarter took Adrian Peterson and the running game out of the equation. The Vikings averaged a respectable 4.7 yards per carry and made the Packers pay for a muffed punt by turning it into Minnesota's only touchdown, a 3-yard run by Peterson. But three weeks after running for 175 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, Peterson was a non-factor with 51 yards rushing just 14 times. Ponder tied Peterson with a team-high 13-yard run. After the coaches said they wanted to get more carries for Toby Gerhart, the No. 2 back didn't touch the ball. The secondary is in shambles after Antoine Winfield broke his clavicle in what is a season-ending injury. Without Chris Cook, who remains away from the team as he fights a domestic assault charge, the Vikings are down to Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen as their top two corners. Griffin's terrible season continued Monday night with the lowlight being stiff-armed to the ground by Jordy Nelson on a 17-yard touchdown catch that gave the Packers a 24-0 lead. Griffin's strength used to be his tackling, but he's simply not the same player he was before tearing the ACLs in both knees the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, is a former dime back who almost didn't make the team. The team is expected to sign another cornerback on Wednesday, likely Benny Sapp, but for now, the nickel and dime back positions would go to punt returner Marcus Sherels and little-used rookie Brandon Burton. Outmanned against Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 scoring offense on Monday, the Vikings allowed Rodgers to complete 23 of 30 passes for 250 yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers. The shame of it for the Vikings is they actually generated a decent pass rush. The Packers didn't run the ball well, but they didn't need to. They got a big lead early and then went to work on killing the clock. The Packers ran for only 90 yards on 31 carries (2.9). The run defense also had some lapses. For instance, it allowed James Starks to run for 10 yards on third-and-9 from the Packers' 4-yard line right before the end of the first half. A stop there and the Vikings would have had more time and better field position on the ensuing possession. A game in which the Vikings' margin for error already was slim was made even more difficult when the special teams cost the Vikings 10 points in the first quarter. After winning the coin toss, deferring and forcing a three-and-out, the Packers returned the game's first punt 80 yards for a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers hadn't even stepped on the field yet, and Green Bay led 7-0 with 13:42 left in the opening period. Late in the first period, Ryan Longwell's 47-yard field goal was taken off the board because of a false start on Fred Evans. Longwell then came up short on his 52-yard attempt. The Vikings did recover a muffed punt that led to a touchdown. They also downed a punt inside the Packers' 5. But overall it was a very sloppy game that even included an offsides penalty on the opening kickoff of the second half. Coach Leslie Frazier said the game would be a measuring stick. And it was. And what the measuring stick said is the Vikings are a long way behind in the NFC North, both in terms of talent and coaching. With 15 days between their last game and Monday night, the Vikings played their sloppiest and most lackluster game of the season. The 38-point margin of defeat was the worst in the 102-game history of the rivalry. The Vikings were dealt a tough hand as a team that was in transition during the 4½-month lockout. Especially when the other three teams in the NFC North had continuity at quarterback, coach and systems. But there is no excuse for being as sloppy and flat as the team was on Monday night. The Vikings had 10 penalties for 80 yards. The Packers had one penalty for 5 yards. 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