Reaction to the Action

Dennis Green's staff made the right adjustments on offense and defense, as the Vikings shut down Green Bay's running game while Minnesota's rushing attack was straight and true.

The Green Bay Packers are a good football team, both offensively and defensively, and quarterback Brett Favre will go down as one of the greatest to have played the game — probably the best in Packers history, including Bart Starr. But even great quarterbacks have bad games, and sometimes the reason for them misfiring isn't always truly understood, as many fans will reach and grab for different explanations. At times, the real credit for an opponent's bad day at the office can be credited to the opposing team's coaching staff.

For all you Dennis Green bashers out there, he's a winner. He makes adjustments and doesn't look back, as he believes you play with the hand you're dealt, and as he always says, "There's no room for crybabies." Coach Green has no problem bringing back players that he had previously cut or traded on many occasions — an example being Stalin Colinet, who held his own very well on Sunday — and bringing back coaches, like defensive backs/assistant head coach Willie Shaw.

The defensive game plan set up for this Packers game and the confusion that it created for Brett Favre was due, in large part, to the Vikings' successful disguises. Defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas gave Favre some confusing looks at times, as the Vikings would fake the blitzes they executed so much last week against the Lions, showing man-to-man coverage and then just before the snap of the ball they would fall back into zone coverage. On several occasions, it left Favre looking confused, especially on Kailee Wong's TD interception of 27 yards. The defensive coaches also made adjustments to a porous blitz defense of a week ago, creating a more uniform blitz package and run-stopping package. After all, take away Ahman Green's 61-yard run created by a lot of missed tackles and the mighty Pack ends up with only 13 yards of rushing offense on 14 carries, less than 1 yard per carry.

On the offensive side of the ball, offensive line/assistant head coach Mike Tice, who will be a head coach somewhere in the near future, and running backs coach Carl Hargrave, got the running game back on track with hard-running Doug Chapman going for 90 yards on 22 carries. For the game, the offense rolled up 196 yards rushing on 37 carries, a 5.3-yard average.

The Vikings players and coaches needed a huge game against Green Bay, as they would have been three games behind the Packers in the NFC Central Division had they lost. But I'm starting to believe that every game we'll being using the "biggest-game-of-the-season" cliché and I know this week that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be using that cliché as they prepare for the Vikings, as that game will be even bigger for them than what the Vikings had with the Packers. Must-wins will be happening this entire year because of the parity created in this league, and many of these games will come down to how the coaches motivate and handle their players while making great adjustments to the offensive, defensive and special teams schemes. Dennis Green gets an "A" in all three facets, as he has created great chemistry with this year's Minnesota Vikings team. VU

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