Green Bay Packers: Defeating the Vikings Comes Down to Effort and Tackling

S. DixonContributor IIIDecember 31, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson once again dominated the Green Bay Packers defense on the ground Sunday afternoon. His 34 carries for 199 yards and a touchdown gave quarterback Christian Ponder the chance to torch Green Bay’s defense down the field. So how bad was Green Bay’s defensive line?

The Packers’ defensive line, led by B.J. Raji, C.J. Wilson and Ryan Pickett, was fantastic. According to Pro Football Focus’ Bryan Hall, Peterson only ran for 36 yards on 17 carries inside the tackles. That is only 2.1 yards per carry. So how was Adrian Peterson able to break loose for another incredible game?

The Packers’ defensive backfield was dreadful in run support. They failed to tackle Peterson and took poor angles on numerous occasions. Peterson was able to rush for 153 yards on 17 carries outside of the tackles. That is a whopping nine yards per carry. According to Hall, Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett were two primary culprits in allowing Peterson to run wild.

Peterson was effective outside the numbers on numerous occasions, so Christian Ponder was able to utilize play action passes. Forty-eight percent of Ponder’s throws were off play-action fakes. His play-action ability allowed the Vikings to be effective through the air, especially on third down.

If Green Bay wants to win the upcoming Wild Card Game against Minnesota, their secondary must perform considerably better against the runner. Tackling, containment and decision-making must improve.

For some players, even effort must be better this Saturday. A 180-pound defensive back, like Tramon Williams, might not be able to tackle the league’s best runner. However, if everyone on the defense gives the proper amount of effort, they will be able to limit Peterson’s damage. Green Bay’s defensive line is playing too well for the secondary’s poor tackling to lose games. Expect the Packers to improve their tackling effort and win this Saturday. It will take a full team effort to beat the league’s most valuable player.