Vikings-Packers game scout

Get series history, key injuries and other notes on the Vikings-Packers' Monday night contest.

Sunday
Seattle Seahawks (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0)
Detroit Lions (0-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-0)
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-0)
St. Louis Rams (0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
Houston Texans (0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
New York Jets (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0)
Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-0)
Carolina Panthers (0-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-0)
Dallas Cowboys (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Chicago Bears (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Monday
Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0)
Denver Broncos (0-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-0)

Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0)

KICKOFF: Monday, 7:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/8/08
SURFACE: Grass
TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser)

SERIES:
95th meeting. Packers lead series, 48-45-1, and are 4-0 against the Vikings since Brad Childress took over as Minnesota's head coach in 2006. The Vikings had won three in a row against the Packers, including an NFC wild-card game in 2004, before Mike Tice was fired as their coach following the 2005 season.

Talk is cheap: The Vikings' coaching staff boasted about QB Tarvaris Jackson's development over the offseason, and now it's time for him to display that maturity. Expect Jackson to look for new WR Bernard Berrian early. He'll be working against physical veteran CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson, who don't have the speed to keep up if Berrian beats them off the line. And with the defense focused so heavily on RB Adrian Peterson, the Packers' corners will often be on an island.

QB Aaron Rodgers becomes the first quarterback other than Brett Favre to start a regular-season game for the Packers since Sept. 20, 1992. And he does it at home in primetime against a Vikings defense that upgraded its pass rush with DE Jared Allen. And moving the ball against the Vikings' stout run defense could prove difficult with C Scott Wells possibly sidelined and RB Ryan Grant prepared to see his first game action since January.

KEY INJURIES: Vikings: S Madieu Williams (neck) is out. WR Robert Ferguson (ankle) is uncertain. Jackson (sprained MCL) could have limited mobility.

Packers: OLB A.J. Hawk (chest) and Wells (back) are questionable. Grant (hamstring) will play after sitting out the entire preseason.

NEED TO KNOW: Vikings S Darren Sharper is the active NFL leader with 53 career interceptions.

The Packers are 3-0 in their three previous season openers played on Monday nights.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Vikings


  • WR Bernard Berrian has gotten through four practices after being bothered by a toe injury on his right foot for much of training camp. Barring a setback, Berrian will play Monday against the Packers.

  • WR Robert Ferguson was limited in practice Thursday because of an ankle injury suffered in the third preseason game. His status for Monday's game remains uncertain.

  • RB Maurice Hicks did not practice last week as he continues to recover from a sprained foot. Hicks did work on the side and he's doubtful. If he can't go, WR Aundrae Allison is likely to be used to return kickoffs.

  • Artis Hicks talked for the first time about playing left tackle for the opening four games in place of the suspended Bryant McKinnie. "It's not that big of an adjustment," said Hicks, who has made four of 49 career starts at left tackle. "The biggest thing is guys are a little bit faster out there, a little more athletic. The plays are pretty much the same. It's just the speed and quickness of the (defensive ends)."

  • The Vikings have named season-long captains for the first time. Pro Bowl LG Steve Hutchinson (offense), MLB E.J. Henderson (defense) and PK Ryan Longwell (special teams) were picked by their teammates.

    Packers:

  • RB Ryan Grant was full go in practice and is on track to start the season opener against Minnesota on Monday. Grant didn't carry the football once in the preseason games after missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury.

  • DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila also appears ready to be on the field Monday, which would be his first game since the end of last season. The pass-rush specialist was a full participant late in the week. He missed most of training camp with lingering soreness from offseason knee surgery.

  • LT Chad Clifton, who will primarily be matched against Pro Bowl DE Jared Allen on Monday, is being limited in practice for the majority of this long preparation week because of nagging knee and chest soreness. Clifton isn't expected to go through a full practice until Saturday.

  • C Scott Wells was undergoing further treatment Thursday for a strained muscle in his lower back that he aggravated in practice Monday. Wells hasn't been ruled out from playing in the opener, though head coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged Wells might need a couple weeks to recover. Jason Spitz, the projected starter at right guard, would start at center Monday, with Tony Moll tabbed as the fill-in at guard.

  • WR James Jones didn't practice Thursday and could be a long-shot to be cleared for the opener. He's listed as doubtful. Jones has been held out all week as he recovers from a sprained knee sustained in the Aug. 22 preseason game. If Jones is unavailable, Ruvell Martin and Jordy Nelson would be counted on in the multiple-receiver formations with starters Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

  • G Josh Sitton is the only Packer who has been declared out for the game. The rookie is on the mend from a torn MCL in his left knee, sustained Aug. 22. Sitton, who started the first three preseason games at right guard, is expected to be sidelined at least three more weeks.

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