Vikings vs. Packers: Instant Grades and Analysis for Green Bay

Michael DulkaContributor IDecember 2, 2012

Vikings vs. Packers: Instant Grades and Analysis for Green Bay

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    The Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-14 to improve to 8-4 on the season. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers held on, despite Adrian Peterson's productive, 210-yard afternoon.

    After trailing 14-10 at halftime, the Packers played a great second half to beat their divisional rivals. The Vikings fall to 6-6 on the season and have plenty of work to do to make the playoffs as a wild card team. 

    Let's take a look at the Packers' final postgame grades and evaluations. 

    Final Score

    Packers–23

    Vikings–14

Quarterbacks

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    Aaron Rodgers–B

    It wasn't a spectacular game from Aaron Rodgers, but he did enough to help the Packers get a victory. He was strong in the first half and managed the game well in the second half, playing with a makeshift offensive line. Rodgers was far from perfect with a terrible decision on the interception and holding onto the ball too long. 

Runningbacks

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    Alex Green–B

    Green was extremely productive for the Packers as part of a tandem that provided the Packers with one of their best rushing performances in a long while. Green split with carries with James Starks and each running back was efficient. 

    James Starks–B+

    Starks delivered a punishing performance with burst that has been rarely seen since his playoff run in 2010. Other than the difference in running styles, there was little separate the two backs besides Starks 22-yard touchdown run that gave the Packers a 20-14 lead. 

    John Kuhn–B-

    Despite being whistled for a holding penalty, Kuhn was very good and did everything the Packers asked him to do–which was a lot. He was called on to help in pass protection, run block, run the ball and used in the passing game as a receiver. 

Wide Receivers

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    Jordy Nelson–N/A

    Nelson caught a pass on his only target of the day before leaving the game with a hamstring string injury. More information will be available on Nelson's injury in the next few days. 

    Greg Jennings–B

    Jennings played well in his first game back from his injury, with four catches and 46 yards. He seemed to fit right back into the Packers offense, leading the team in targets. Jennings will likely improve as he gets back to full-pace, which could be huge if Nelson has to miss time. 

    Randall Cobb–A-

    Cobb lead the team in yardage with 62 yards on six catches. His 33-yard catch in the fourth quarter wasn't for a touchdown, but it was almost just as important. It allowed the Packers to take a nine-point lead with four minutes left. 

    James Jones–B+

    After not being targeted last week, Jones made the most of his two targets this week with two catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. The 32-yard touchdown was an incredible catch by Jones who continues to impress with beautiful catches. 

Tight Ends

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    Jermichael Finley–A-

    Finley was huge on the afternoon with six catches for 60 yards. He was extremely reliable throughout the afternoon and Rodgers made the most of his big tight end. Finley's only target that didn't result in a catch was a misfire by Rodgers. 

    Tom Crabtree–B

    Crabtree had a very good game as helped out in pass protection and did a nice job in run blocking. He came up with two catches on his two targets. 

Offensive Line

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    T.J. Lang–C-

    Lang wasn't playing well before injuring his ankle midway through the second quarter. He was flagged for a holding penalty and gave up pressure before leaving the game. 

    Don Barclay–B

    Barclay had an impressive showing, coming into the game and helping the Packers finish the game strong. He received help in various forms, but all-in-all, he was useful without being too much of a drop-off from Lang. 

    Marshall Newhouse–C+

    Newhouse played a decent game as the Packers did a much better job of protecting Rodgers in the second half. Part of the improved offensive line was due to quicker passing routes and the run game, but the offensive line deserves credit was as well. 

    Evan Dietrich Smith–C+

    Dietrich-Smith wasn't at his best, with a couple flags, but played much better than last week. The Vikings have a very good defensive line and the Packers makeshift offensive line held their own, including Dietrich-Smith. 

    Jeff Saturday–B

    After some rough games, Saturday was better today against the Vikings than he has for a while. There were still moments he got beat up front, but overall he managed the offensive line well. 

    Josh Sitton–B+

    Sitton was extremely quiet on the afternoon, providing strong protection for Rodgers and giving good blocking for the running backs. Sitton needs to continue this play while the rest of the line deals with injuries. 

Defensive Line

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    B.J. Raji–A-

    Raji had a strong game, getting pursuit up the middle of the offensive line. Many times, Raji was held without getting the calls from the refs. He battled through to have a productive game. 

    Ryan Pickett–C+

    Pickett did a fine job against Peterson, with most of Peterson's yardage coming outside the numbers. While Peterson put up big numbers, he could have had a much bigger impact of the game if not for the Packers defensive line.

    Mike Neal–C+

    Neal had a better game than he's had in weeks past, but failed to consistently get pressure on Ponder. He got into Ponder's face, but couldn't register a sack as the Packers failed to sack Ponder at all.  

    Jerel Worthy–C

    Worthy also struggled to get pressure on the quarterback, but did come up with a nice play to blow up the line and help force a 2-yard loss for Peterson. 

    Mike Daniels–C

    Daniels added some burst, but did little to impact the game. His biggest contribution was helping stop Adrian Peterson short of a first down, but outside of that, it was pretty quiet from Daniels.  

Linebackers

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    A.J. Hawk–C

    Hawk had a very up-and-down game. He had plays where he delivered by keeping Adrian Peterson inside and limiting his yardage, but also missed on a few that sprang Peterson for long gains. Overall, Hawk was pretty average which has been typical.

    Dezman Moses–C-

    Moses struggled to get pressure on the quarterback for the second straight week. He has played his best football with Clay Matthews playing opposite him and taking attention away. Moses should get that luxury back in the next few weeks. 

    Erik Walden–D+

    Walden struggled to get anything going on the afternoon as he split time with Frank Zombo. After playing so well early in the year, Walden has fizzled out as of late. 

    Brad Jones–C

    Jones improved from last week, but still had some mistakes on the afternoon. He was extremely active with seven tackles, a pass defense and a tackle for a loss. Like Hawk, Jones made some plays while also giving up some plays.  

    Frank Zombo–D+

    Zombo wasn't really better than Walden as the two looked very similar. Neither one was able to get to Christian Ponder to get sacks or force bad throws. 

Defensive Backs

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    Morgan Burnett–B

    Burnett was brutally awful on two long Adrian Peterson runs with terrible tackling attempts, but came up huge with two interceptions. Those turnovers not only made up for his mistakes, but they came at huge points in the football game to help the Packers get the win. Outside of those four plays, Burnett was active, coming up with another pass defense, a tackle for a loss and seven total tackles. 

    Tramon Williams–B-

    Williams was equally as bad on Peterson's 82-yard touchdown with a poor effort at a tackle. Outside of that, Williams was strong and helped to completely eliminate the Vikings wide receivers until very late in the game. 

    Casey Hayward–B

    Hayward was also fairly quiet on the afternoon, but his defense was another reason the Vikings couldn't get anything going to their receivers. In addition to playing strong in coverage, Hayward was active with four tackles. 

    Davon House–B+

    House played a very nice game with great coverage, especially early in the game. His blanket coverage forced a few incompletions that limited the effectiveness of the Vikings offense. He got credit with one pass defense, but his presence forced multiple incompletions. 

    M.D. Jennings–D+

    Jennings but together a poor effort on Peterson's run and was often abused by Kyle Rudolph who lead the Vikings in catches and yardage. Jennings needs to be more physical in his tackling and more stout in coverage. 

    Jerron McMillian–C-

    McMillian was extremely average on the afternoon. It was a combination of him and Brad Jones that gave up Rudolph's touchdown that gave the Vikings their first points. Outside of that play, McMillian didn't have much of an impact on the game. 

Special Teams

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    Mason Crosby–B

    Crosby hit three out of four field goals, missing a 53-yarder. It's too soon to say if Crosby is back from his slump, but it's a step in the right direction. He seemed much more loose after hitting the 47-yard field goal to make the score 14-13. 

    Tim Masthay–B-

    Masthay had a decent game with an average of 41.5 yards per punt on his four kicks. He dropped one inside the 20-yard line for a solid outing. 

    Randall Cobb–D

    Cobb didn't have a good game on special teams. He was extremely indecisive on his returns and danced around instead of finding a hole and hitting it. There is way too much talent there for Cobb to be doing that. He needs to realize not very return is a potential return. 

Coaching

10 of 10

    Mike McCarthy–B

    McCarthy put together a much better performance than last week in terms of play calling and having his team ready to play. The Packers got a fast start and responded well to going behind after Adrian Peterson's 82-yard touchdown run. The team responded well and delivered a dominant second half, a credit to McCarthy and his staff. 

    Dom Capers–B

    Capers did a nice job masking the defensive absences, despite Peterson's big day. While the Packers were gashed by Peterson, they did a nice job of limiting Ponder's effectiveness and it cost the Vikings yardage and production.