Packers-Vikings Q+A With Joe Oberle
1. How have Vikings fans taken the first loss of the season? Brett Favre seemed to lose his “can do no wrong” title for the first time all year. Are there any nervous fans on Favre’s play?
There has been some mixed reaction, but little of it negative toward the Vikings and Favre. A section of the fan base blame the referees for the “phantom tripping call,” as it has become known. And most of the fans feel that the Vikings played well and even outplayed the defending champions on their home field.
They were in a position to win and just did not finish the deal. As to Favre, the Favre haters are laying those two defensive scores at his feet, and while he might have held the ball a little long in one threw too quickly in the other, many see the plays for what they are–good plays by the defense and a not-so-lucky bounce of the ball.
Fans here recognize the upgrade they have at the quarterback position and certainly know that interceptions are part of the package, but his three picks this year are far outweighed by how well he has performed. No one here who was on the Favre-wagon is jumping off at this point.
2. The weather conditions in Lambeau Field will be similar to the conditions last week in Pittsburgh. How were the Vikings exposed with this and will it factor against the Packers?
Actually, it was a great day for football last weekend in Pittsburgh, and save for a recently re-sodded (and perhaps a little soggy) field, the conditions really weren’t a huge factor. Right now it looks about the same for Green Bay on Sunday, so I don’t expect it to be a problem for the Vikings. Favre knows how to play outside, and while playing on grass may slow the Minnesota defensive line and Adrian Peterson a bit, having played outside last week certainly should help.
3. Adrian Peterson failed to get things going against the Packers’ 3-4 defense and had just 69 rushing yards against Pitt’s 3-4 defense. He ran all over Cleveland’s 3-4 but who doesn’t? Is the 3-4 a problem for AD?
Looking at the statistics so far this season, the 3-4 defense does seem to present a problem for the Vikings rushing attack. Opponents have loaded the box against Peterson and stuffed the run early. In some cases, he has worn down the defense and started to pickup yards late, so the Vikings have to stick with the run and be patient with it (as they were not last week in Pittsburgh).
I believe Peterson is ready to bust out this week, but if the Packers have more success, the Vikings will need to get him involved with the short passing game more often. If you recall AP’s crushing run against the Steelers’ William Gay last week, you can see that he can do some damage no matter how he gets the ball.
4. How will the Vikings utilize Percy Harvin as compared to in week 4? He seems much more relaxed this time around and is making plays all over the field.
Percy Harvin is a bit of a question mark this week, as he has missed practice time due to illness–which many speculate are a reoccurrence of his migraine headaches. Harvin figures to be ready by game time, but wideout Bernard Berrian may not be with an injured hamstring, so that will mean an increased role for Harvin.
The rookie from Florida has performed well catching passes in traffic across the middle and you can expect to see more of that this weekend. But, as you said, Favre has found Harvin all over the field this season and the Vikings will try to get him loose. I believe Percy’s relaxed demeanor is directly attributable to the time and effort Favre has spent working with him–they have developed some pretty good chemistry.
5. How much does the loss of Antoine Winfield really hurt the Vikings? Will Aaron Rodgers have more success through the air with him out?
Anytime you are missing a player of Antoine’s caliber it creates a huge void that needs filling. Both in run support and pass coverage, there are few like him in the game. After a disastrous attempt to replace him in the Baltimore game, the Vikings defense did by committee (with Karl Paymah, Benny Sapp and Asher Allen) against Pittsburgh and had great success (holding the league-leading receiver, Hines Ward, to one catch for yards).
That said, Rodgers threw for a career high 384 yards against the Vikings last time out, and actually victimized Winfield for the two long touchdowns. A closer look revealed that Rodgers had his greatest success against the Vikings secondary when the defense blitzed, and the Vikings had its greatest success against Rodgers (eight sacks) when they didn’t. Expect the Vikings to do more pass rushing of the front four alone and less blitzing to keep more defenders in the pass defense mode–that should help them in the passing game, where Green Bay is down to only three healthy wide receivers.
6. What is your prediction for the game? It’s hard to beat a team twice,and the Packers have been swept by the Vikings just once since 1998. What’s your take?
Well, then I would say the Vikings are due for a sweep. The Packers are still fiddling with their offensive line and have changed personnel on defense as well (Clay Matthews is starting at linebacker and Atari Bigby returns to safety), so they are a little unsettled. Like last game, emotion will play a big part of it, and Favre used that to his advantage. Once it’s time for kickoff, it is all football, and I think the Vikings will squeak out a close one- perhaps on the toe of Ryan Longwell.
No comments yet.