Grading The Game: Packers

No facet of the game for the Vikings warranted an ‘A' and some got less-than-average marks in their 23-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

PASSING OFFENSE: C — Kelly Holcomb completed 21 of 39 passes for 258 yards, a season-high total for the Vikings, with one interception and one touchdown. The score, though, came with only 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Rookie receiver Sidney Rice caught the touchdown and led the Vikings with six receptions for 75 yards. What was hard to figure was why Rice wasn't more of a target. The Vikings took two deep shots for Rice on their first possession and then went away from the plan. Holcomb said Green Bay made adjustments, but it did seem Rice was getting matched up one-on-one quite a bit with Packers CB Jarrett Bush, who plays in the nickel. It would have made sense for the Vikings to go back at Bush a few more times. Holcomb was lucky not to be intercepted more than once, as the Packers failed to hang onto a few balls.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus — Veteran Chester Taylor and rookie Adrian Peterson finally played a full game together, as Taylor returned after missing two games because of a hip injury. The verdict? Peterson needs to play more than he did. Much more. He rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries, including a powerful 55-yard run that included a couple of beautiful moves. Somehow Peterson ended up carrying the ball only twice in the entire second half. Taylor went for 40 yards on eight carries, but 37 came on one attempt. The two did get on the field together once, but it's becoming clear Peterson is going to be declared the Vikings' No. 1 guy sooner rather than later.

PASS DEFENSE: C — This isn't a terrible grade for the unit. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, certainly remembering Detroit threw for 393 yards in a Week 2 victory, threw a few new looks into the defense. Instead of playing primarily a nickel defense, Frazier often went to a 3-3-5 look with three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. Frazier also used a 3-2-6 look for one play. Favre completed 32 of 45 passes for 344 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Rookie Marcus McCauley, who plays a corner position in the nickel package, was victimized on both scores. The first was a goal-line post to Greg Jennings for 16 yards; on the second, James Jones caught the ball in stride at around the Vikings 20 and ran past McCauley for a 33-yard touchdown. CB Antoine Winfield got his wish by spending almost the entire game covering Donald Driver. The veteran receiver ended up with a game-high seven catches, but they went for only 58 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus — An incomplete might be the fairest grade to give the Vikings. The Vikings are outstanding against the run, and the Packers simply don't worry about that aspect of the game these days, so it's hard to assess this area. Green Bay attempted only 20 running plays — a season-low for a Vikings opponent — and gained 46 yards total for an average of 2.3 yards. Because of the focus on stopping the pass and the frequent use of only three down linemen, Pro Bowl NT Pat Williams saw very limited time.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — Ryan Longwell made all three of his field-goal attempts (44, 35 and 48 yards) and this unit would have had a pretty solid game except for one glitch. That came when the Packers faked a punt on fourth-and-4 from the 50-yard line in the third quarter and punter Jon Ryan ran 7 yards for the first down. Heath Farwell was in position to tackle Ryan short of the first down, but Jeff Dugan ran into him. The Packers ended that drive with a 44-yard field goal from Mason Crosby. Peterson got his most extensive duty on kickoff returns, averaging 32.7 yards on three returns. Receiver Bobby Wade had only one punt return and lost a yard.

COACHING: D — Peterson gets two carries in the entire second half? A borderline challenge on the spot of a ball costs the Vikings a timeout? These were among the questionable moves by Brad Childress and Co. The failure to get Peterson on the field is by far the most perplexing. We're talking about a guy who had 108 yards rushing but added only 4 more in the second half. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier does deserve credit for attempting to come up with a scheme to slow the Packers' passing attack, but there really isn't much positive in this area. Minnesota is now 0-3 under Childress against the Packers, and Childress is 7-13 overall as Minnesota's coach. The most troubling aspect is that many of the same problems continue to plague the Vikings. An offense that stalled or made bad mistakes a year ago is doing the same thing now. Nothing seems to change. One of Childress' favorite refrains is: "The Vikings don't beat the Vikings." But that has been happening now for a year-plus.

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