The Green Bay Packers won a very tightly contested game this week against the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers were able to win, despite an incredible performance by Adrian Peterson, by a score of 23-14.
The Packers had a couple of injuries during the game. Jordy Nelson left the game early, limping to the sideline after making a catch and going out of bounds. With the return of Greg Jennings, the offense didn't seem to miss him much.
What could have potentially ruined the game for the Packers was the injury to T.J. Lang. Lang left the game after injuring his ankle in the second quarter. With a struggling offensive line, another player sidelined by injury would normally spell disaster.
The Packers were forced to put in Don Barclay, a rookie lineman out of West Virginia. Barclay was one of the last players to make the roster for Green Bay, trying out for the team after not being drafted. The 305-pound lineman had been an unknown part of the Packers' roster, until Sunday.
With Lang injured, Barclay was able to step up in the biggest way for the Packers. He was getting some noticeable blocks on the outside as the running game was productive late in the game. On a pitch in the second half to James Starks, Barclay was able to knock down a linebacker, opening a big gap for Starks to run through.
Barclay also looked alright in the passing game. While he did get called for a holding penalty, he was able to size up the defense. The Packers knew that he could be a potential weak spot on the line, so they made sure to help him out on assignment. However, it appeared that Barclay was doing much better than expected.
With Barclay in, the Packers were able to run down the clock in the fourth quarter with an 11-minute drive, the longest by any team this season. The drive helped give the Packers a major victory and put them back on top in the NFC North.
Had Barclay struggled, the team would have been in big trouble. Rodgers would have felt pressure a lot more quickly, and the running game could have been in trouble as well. It's safe to say that Barclay was able to step in and was a big factor in the win for the Packers.