That said, a more important match-up might be the Packers' right ends,
In Week 4 of '07 the Packers traveled to Minneapolis and were leading by seven late in the game thanks in large to some heavy-duty pressure coming from the right end spot. KGB had already racked up three sacks on McKinnie when
Last year the Vikings allowed a league-best 74.1 yards per game and ceded just six rushing scores. Only Grant ever topped 100 yards -- and he had the luxury of playing with a growing lead for the entirety of that game. In their most indicative '08 preseason action, the Vikings' first team defensive line held Pittsburgh to just 26 yards rushing on 14 carries in the first half -- the same Steelers who rushed for 135.5 yards per game (third in the NFL) last year.
Of course, that's all irrelevant of Grant. He's cracked this line once, so why not again? Because, for one, he's not exactly revved up and ready to go. After a long holdout Grant missed a chunk of camp with a hamstring injury, and now he enters Week 1 with just one --
In this game, Berrian's speed could hypothetically exploit guys like
Anyway, forget all of that. This game will be nothing like that. Here are some stats that will matter. Rodgers has been sacked once every 6.55 times he's thrown in his regular season career. OK, so that was often in mop-up duty. Maybe his line was weak. But look at his '08 preseason: one sack every 7.71 attempts behind a starting line. By comparison, Favre has been sacked once every 19.95 attempts.
Rodgers's numbers are awfully close. That type of timidity is the kind of thing that gets quarterbacks killed. Even if
Every week, we'll ask at least one NFL assistant with relevant game experience to provide an anonymous scouting report on our Game of the Week. Here's what two different assistant from 2007 Vikings opponents had to say about game-planning reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
"What they try to do is when you get eight in a box is run a lot of shifts and have a lot of movement before the snap. That way they can get Peterson lined up on a cornerback because of all the shifting they do which the defense has to react to. Brad [Childress] does a great job of that."
"The biggest thing with that guy is you have to maintain great discipline in your gaps. He's such a great cut-back runner, you can't overplay or he's going to kill you. When we prepared for the Vikings, all we told our guys was, stay disciplined, play your gap, and don't over-play, because he'll cut back every time, and if you're not disciplined, that's when he's off and running."
OK, so maybe that was less obvious midseason in '07, when our scout took on A.P. If the Packers have any doubts about this analysis, they can just ask the Bears and Chargers, against whom Peterson racked up eight touchdowns and almost 600 yards over three games last year. On one run late in the second quarter of the
Among Green Bay's personnel,
I see Rodgers getting tossed around in this one, maybe even handing Minnesota a few defensive points. Add a score for A.P. and I've got the Vikings winning 14-9.