Vikings hit on Packers' weakness

The Vikings sent Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to the turf a career-high eight times, reinforcing the notion that Green Bay need reinforcements on its offensive line.

If it wasn't clear to them after three games, the Packers definitely know after four outings what their top priority will be in the upcoming bye week.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' league-worst sacks total went from an alarming 12 to an appalling 20 in a few hours Monday night at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Rodgers was dumped for a career-high eight sacks by the Minnesota Vikings in their 30-23 win over Green Bay in the early-season NFC North showdown.

"It's obviously an issue," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's gone on for four weeks. You can't play this way. We're playing way too up and down. It's hurting us because of the big plays we're able to generate. We're too much of a big little offense right now."

Vikings All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen led the all-out assault on Rodgers with a career-high 4.5 sacks.

The Packers (2-2) wound up using two left tackles opposite Allen, but the speedy pass rusher had his way with both of them. Allen forced a fumble by Rodgers in the game-opening series and later sacked him in the end zone for a safety.

Converted left guard Daryn Colledge started in place of an injured Chad Clifton for the second straight game. Colledge suffered a sprained right knee early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by rookie T.J. Lang.

"We had some leakage late in some protections, and that can't happen. We've got to finish better than that," Colledge said. "We pride ourselves on being able to finish. We're an extremely athletic and well-conditioned offensive line, and we need to have it there at the end of plays."

Colledge didn't think he would have to miss any game action because of the injury. The Packers' next game isn't until Oct. 18, when they play host to the Detroit Lions.

The Packers should have Clifton available by then. He suffered an ankle sprain in the Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, who sacked Rodgers a then-personal-high six times (five by Antwan Odom).

Rodgers accepted some of the blame for the myriad breakdowns that occurred behind the line of scrimmage Monday.

"They did a good job, they had a good scheme, they covered up a lot of our guys and got after me a little bit," Rodgers said of the Vikings. "It's a combination of maybe extra effort on their part and nobody being open and me not getting (the football) out of my hands as quick as I probably could've."

NOTES

  • KR Will Blackmon tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and he will miss the remainder of the season. He suffered what was initially classified as a knee sprain on a kickoff return in the second quarter. Blackmon didn't return to the game, with WR Jordy Nelson replacing him on returns.

  • Coach Mike McCarthy said the team worked out free agent OT Mark Tauscher on Tuesday. That sets up the possibility of Tauscher being brought back after the team backed off on re-signing him in the offseason as he recovered from major knee surgery.

    "He looks good," said McCarthy, who didn't attend the workout. "That's what they told me. I said, ‘Good.' I think it would definitely be an asset to have him back on our football team."

    Tauscher was the Packers' starting right tackle since his rookie season in 2000 until last season. He was replaced by Allen Barbre, a first-year starter who has struggled in pass protection through the first four games.

  • WR Donald Driver had four catches in Monday's game to tie Sterling Sharpe for the team career receptions record with 595. Driver, who has caught a pass in a club-record 115 straight regular-season games, would be able to break Sharpe's standard for catches at Lambeau Field on Oct. 18, when the Packers play host to the Detroit Lions after the bye week.

  • DE Cullen Jenkins suffered an ankle injury and also had cramps Monday but returned to the game.

  • RB DeShawn Wynn sustained a wrist injury in the game. The severity of it wasn't immediately known.

  • LB Desmond Bishop suffered a bruised rib in the contest. The extent of the injury wasn't immediately known.

  • -SS Atari Bigby missed a third straight game because of a sprained knee. He might be able to return after the bye.

  • RB Brandon Jackson has yet to play this season because of a lingering high ankle sprain, which he suffered late in the preseason.

  • LB Jeremy Thompson was deactivated for the second straight game because of knee inflammation.


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