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Packer Partisan (11/14/2007)
By Dave DeLano

Saving the Best for the Vikings" Priceless!!

The Green Bay Packers saved their most impressive performance of the year for the Minnesota Vikings Sunday and handed them their worst defeat ever by a Packer squad. Cheeseheads dream about games like this. When the dream becomes a reality, especially against the Vikings, one wishes the game would never end, but when this one ended it was Packers 34 Vikings 0.

In January 2006 the Packers and the Vikings were both looking for a new direction and were in search of a new head coach. Brad Childress was a candidate and had interviews scheduled in both Minneapolis and Green Bay. The genius in charge of writing the checks in Minneapolis hired Childress on the spot and thus the trip to Green Bay was cancelled. Fate was with the Cheeseheads that day. Childress has since had all kinds of problems with his squad and seems to be wading in water far over his bald head.

Favre and company were in control of this game from the beginning. Even though the receivers dropped a couple balls and Favre misfired once or twice, the Viking pass defense is weak and it seemed like the Packers could move the ball at will. The surprise of this game was the success that Packer running back Ryan Grant had running the ball against Minnesota's supposed strength. Grant scored the first touchdown on a 30-yard scamper and the game was over at that point.

Mike McCarthy called great plays for the offense and the combination of Grant running for well over 100 yards and Favre throwing for over 350 yards proved way too much for Childress and the Vikings. The offense was able to sustain multiple long drives and turn them into scores.

As predicted, A. J. Hawk and Nick Barnett shadowed rookie sensation Adrian Peterson and held him in check. Mike McCarthy also opted to activate nine defensive linemen for this game, ensuring fresh legs against the anticipated strong dose of Adrian Peterson. That turned out to be a good strategy as the Pack played high-intensity "team defense" and turned in a virtuoso performance. The Packer defense dominated Sunday, pitching their first "shut-out" since 2002.

Green Bay's 8 - 1 record is tied for the best in the National Football Conference. Next week the Carolina Panthers invade Lambeau. The Panthers have some real problems at quarterback. They started ancient Vinny Testeverde last week in their loss to lowly Atlanta. If the Panthers can figure out a way to get the ball to wide receiver Steve Smith, he will be a factor. Smith is one of the most exciting players in the league and could be a challenge for the Packers' pass defenders.

With all their success this year, the Packers now have to guard against overconfidence. They will be heavy favorites to defeat Carolina, but these are the type of games best approached with utmost caution. It is tempting to look forward to the showdown on Thanksgiving Day against the second-place Lions. Fans can afford to look at "the game down the road"; let's hope the Packer players do not. 


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