Grading The Game: Packers

A win will always bring out better grades, but the Vikings still have room for improvement in every facet of the game. The best part was rebounding from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Packers.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus — After a miserable first half, Daunte Culpepper rebounded to complete 17 of 23 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the second half as the Vikings rallied from a 17-0 deficit to beat Green Bay. Culpepper, who finished 23 of 31 for 280 yards, was sacked five times, but his pass protection improved in the second half as he led the Vikings on five scoring drives (three field goals, two touchdowns) over the final two quarters.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C — Nothing spectacular, but the Vikings were able to get 100 yards on the ground for only the second time this season. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper's 18-yard scramble was the Vikings' longest run of the game, and running back Mewelde Moore led the team with 45 yards on 13 carries. The Vikings still need to establish a more consistent run game if the offense is truly going to get on track.

PASS DEFENSE: C — Packers quarterback Brett Favre completed his first 13 passes, and Donald Driver caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown in the first half. But after receiver Robert Ferguson injured his knee and ankle in the second quarter while making a 44-yard catch, the Vikings made a key halftime adjustment. Cornerback Fred Smoot was assigned to Driver and also got some safety help. Driver caught only two passes for 13 yards in the second half and did not have a reception in the fourth quarter.

RUSH DEFENSE: B — The Vikings were able to make the adjustment to stop the pass largely because the Packers' run game was a non-factor, averaging 2 yards on 23 attempts. The Vikings continued to rely on a 3-4 defense and nose tackle Pat Williams was a force for the second consecutive week. Williams frequently dominated Packers center Scott Wells and got into the Green Bay backfield on a regular basis.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus — After a tough game last week against Chicago, the special teams rebounded in a big way. Paul Edinger's third field goal of the day, a 56-yarder as time expired, gave the Vikings the victory. Holder Brad Johnson, who mishandled a snap at Chicago, made one of the biggest plays Sunday, pulling Cullen Loeffler's low snap off the turf and getting it down in time for Edinger to hit the winner. Koren Robinson also played a role in setting up the winner, by returning a Green Bay kick 25 yards to the Vikings' 36. Robinson averaged 29.4 yards on five returns, including a long of 72 yards. Mewelde Moore, taking over for the recently released Keenan Howry on punt returns, averaged only 3 yards on three punt returns.

COACHING: B — No one would reveal exactly what coach Mike Tice said at halftime, but everyone agreed it worked. Tice would only say he talked in a negative tone for the first time in two years. Offensively, coordinator Steve Loney said no adjustments were made at halftime and attributed the 23-point second half to execution and fewer mistakes. Defensively, the move to put cornerback Fred Smoot on Packers receiver Donald Driver proved to be a stroke of genius.




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