Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers: Instant Grades, Analysis for Minnesota

Bill Hubbell@@billyhubbellContributor IDecember 2, 2012

Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers: Instant Grades, Analysis for Minnesota

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    Final Score:

    Green Bay Packers 23 Minnesota Vikings 14

    The Green Bay Packers chewed up nearly the entire fourth quarter during an 11-minute drive that put a dagger in Minnesota's chances in winning at Lambeau Field.

    Blair Walsh missed wide right on a 42-yard field goal attempt that would have kept Minnesota in the game.

    Stay with us as we'll post final grades and analysis shortly.

    Green Bay Packers 23 Minnesota Vikings 14

    Mason Crosby converts from 31-yards out to extend the Packers lead to nine points. Aaron Rodgers was four for four on third down conversions until they settled for field position on third and goal from the Vikings' 16-yard line. The Packers chewed up 11 minutes of clock on the longest sustained drive in the NFL this season.

    On the bright side for the Vikings, Christian Ponder couldn't do anything wrong for 11 minutes.

    Third Quarter Score:

    Green Bay Packers 20 Minnesota Vikings 14

    The Minnesota Vikings complete ineptitude on offense (Adrian Peterson excepted), is coming back to haunt them. The Packers get a short field to work with after a poor punt by Chris Kluwe and the Packers march down the field and James Starks finishes off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run around the right side of Minnesota's defense.

    Minnesota Vikings 14 Green Bay Packers 13

    Mason Crosby's personal roller-coaster ride smooths out a big as Crosby hits from 47-yard to pull Packers to within a point of the Vikings halfway through the 3rd quarter. Crosby has made just nine of his last 18 field goal attempts.

    Halftime Score:

    Minnesota Vikings 14 Green Bay Packers 10

    It always helps to have Adrian Peterson on your side.

    The Vikings MVP candidate just exploded through the Packers defense on what should have been a short gain to right side. Peterson tore through a couple of would-be tacklers and then set sail down the sidelines and nobody was going to catch him.

    The 82-yard touchdown was the longest of Peterson's career and gives the Vikings their first lead of the afternoon.

    Green Bay Packers 10 Minnesota Vikings 7

    Christian Ponder caps off an excellent 14-play drive by hitting Kyle Rudolph with a 7-yard touchdown pass for a crucial score for Minnesota. 

    Rudolph already has four catches and a touchdown for the Vikings.

    First Quarter Score:

    Green Bay Packers 10 Minnesota Vikings 0

    The Vikings offense was apparently on the field, but I blinked and missed it. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers down the field for the second straight possession, this one ending in a Mason Crosby 30-yard field goal that hit the left upright before falling through. 

    Green Bay Packers 7 Minnesota Vikings 0

    Things are underway at Lambeau Field and before you can say "uphill battle," the Vikings are down a quick touchdown. 

    Quarterback Aaron Rodgers used his second "free play" of the drive to throw a 32-yard dart of a touchdown to James Jones to get the Packers out to an early lead.

    The Packers have come out in the no-huddle set up for much of the first drive and Rodgers used a hard count twice to draw the Vikings front offsides, including the touchdown throw to Jones. Vikings' A.J. Jefferson was right with Jones in the end zone, but Jones simply plucked the ball from Jefferson for the touchdown.

    You can catch the game starting at noon CST, and stay with us throughout the day for instant grades and analysis, followed up by final grades after the game.

Christian Ponder- D

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    4th Quarter Grade: D

    Ponder was five for eight and got the Vikings into field goal range on the Vikings only possession of the quarter. We're giving him a D because his third quarter was so bad that some of the F bled into his fourth quarter grade.

    3rd Quarter Grade: F

    He's bottomed out.

    You simply can't win a game in the NFL when your quarterback is playing this poorly.

    Adrian Peterson rips off a 48-yard run that gets the Vikings deep into Green Bay territory and Ponder turns around and throws a brutal interception to Morgan Burnett in the end zone. Ponder dropped back 15-yards on his rollout when he didn't have to give up so much ground and turned a shot throw into a 20-yarder.

    He under-threw a wide open Adrian Peterson. He overthrew a wide open Toby Gerhart. He capped it off by throwing another interception deep in Packers' territory.

    As bad as it gets.

    2nd Quarter Grade: B

    Ponder was excellent on the Vikings' second possession, orchestrating a 14-play drive down the length of the field and capping it off with a 7-yard touchdown to Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings needed a good possession from the offense and Ponder gave it to them at a crucial spot in the game; the Vikings needed points and they got them.

    He made a poor throw on the Vikings final possession of the half, missing a wide-open Jerome Simpson on a throw that could have extended the drive.

    Ponder didn't complete a pass to a wide receiver in the entire half.

    1st Quarter Grade: C

    The Vikings first possession was a three and out and Ponder only threw one pass, a brutal throw that should have been picked off by Morgan Burnett. It was a poor decision, trying to force it in to a well-covered Kyle Rudolph.

    Ponder has bounced back on the Vikings second drive, completing two balls to Rudolph and made a nice play checking down to fullback Jerome Felton for a nice 13-yard gain.

Vikings Offense- D

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    4th Quarter Grade: D

    You can make a case that the Vikings offensive ineptitude just wore down the Vikings defense.

    The offense was only on the field for the blink of an eye in the fourth quarter and they moved the ball down the field, but quite honestly the game felt like it was over by then.

    On the bright side, it turned out the Vikings were using wide receivers in the game: Jerome Simpson caught two passes on the final drive.

    3rd Quarter Grade: F

    See the previous slide.

    Ponder dragged the rest of the unit down with him. In a game the Vikings should have a two touchdown lead in, they trail by six. 

    2nd Quarter Grade: A

    Christian Ponder and Kyle Rudolph were excellent on the Vikings first scoring drive and Adrian Peterson took over from there.

    The Vikings MVP tore off an 82-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career to give the Vikings a huge jolt when they needed it most.

    The much-maligned wide receiver corps had zero catches in the first half.

    1st Quarter Grade: C

    Adrian Peterson is running hard and hopefully wearing down the Packers defense for some big runs as the game wears on.

    Kyle Rudolph with a couple of nice grabs to move the chains and a good gain out of Jerome Felton to keep a drive going. 

Vikings Defense: A+

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    4th Quarter Grade: C

    The Vikings defense just couldn't get to Aaron Rodgers when they had to. Rodgers kept the Packers offense on the field for an NFL-longest 11 minute drive in the fourth quarter that basically put a pin in Minnesota's chances of winning the game.

    They held the Packer to three points on the quarter and deserved to get a win out of today's performance.

    3rd Quarter Grade: C

    The defense played pretty well until falling apart on the Packers last scoring drive. They are constantly getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers, who's showing what kind of difference a quarterback can make. If the quarterback's were flip-flopped in this game, the Vikings would be ahead by 21 points.

    2nd Quarter Grade: A+

    The Vikings defense came up with their best half of football on the season, getting hits on Rodgers and covering his receivers downfield while shutting out the Packers in the second quarter.

    A couple of terrible calls by the officials kept the defense from having an even better half. A Jared Allen interception was negated on a brutal personal foul call against Everson Griffen that would have given the Vikings the ball deep in Green Bay territory. We only hope that those lack of possible points doesn't come back to haunt them in the second half.

    Five offsides penalties marred what was a good half of football from the purple defenders.

    1st Quarter Grade: D

    The Vikings defense was on their heels for the entire first quarter. Aaron Rodgers looked like he was playing Wac a Mole, picking apart the Vikings defense and hitting receivers all over the field to build a 10-point advantage.

    Two offsides penalties gave Rodgers free plays and he used the second one to take a shot in the end zone that paid off when James Jones took the ball away from A.J. Jefferson.

    The Vikings front started getting hits on Rodgers during the Packers second possession which could pay off as the day wears on.

Vikings Special Teams: F

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    4th Quarter Grade: F

    There's really no other grade to give a unit that has just one play in the quarter, a missed field goal from 42-yards that would have kept Minnesota's slim chances of winning alive.

    3rd Quarter Grade: C

    A 36-yard punt by Chris Kluwe gave the Packers a very short field and they converted to take the lead late in the quarter. 

    2nd Quarter Grade: A

    Chris Kluwe pitched in with two excellent punts, one 58 yards and one 51 yards. The coverage was good on the first one and great on the second one, pinning Randall Cobb for a loss of nine yards inside the Packers' 10-yard line.

    1st Quarter Grade: B

    Very uneventful quarter for the special teams. Randall Cobb took the opening kick-off from five yards deep and made a nice 30-yard return.

Vikings Coaches: F

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    4th Quarter Grade: F

    Just because. There will be more reasons given in the final grades. You'll never have a better chance to beat the Packers in Green Bay and you fail miserably.

    3rd Quarter Grade: F

    If you have a tooth that's rotting and it's making your entire body hurt, you eventually have it pulled, right?

    2nd Quarter Grade: B

    Short passes and a lot of Adrian Peterson were just the ticket in the second quarter for the Vikings offense. 

    They got cute by not having Peterson on the field after his 82-yard touchdown run. There's a time to rest him, that wasn't it. He had plenty of time to rest during the Packers possession and the half was looming for him to get more rest. 

    1st Quarter Grade: B

    You can't blame jumping offsides on the coaches, unless it happens a lot and it happened twice on the Packers first drive.

    The Packers have astutely come out with some no-huddle and some three-step drops for Rodgers as he's been getting hit too much recently.