Vikings vs. Packers: How Can Green Bay Shut Down Adrian Peterson?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 4, 2013

Dec 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Attempting to tackle Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson can't ever be fun, but doing so in 29 degree, Wisconsin weather has to be the ultimate nightmare for a defender. 

According to, 29 degrees is the temperature forecast for Lambeau Field on Saturday evening when the Green Bay Packers' helmets will clash with the MVP front-runner in the opening round of the NFC playoffs. 

Have fun, home team. 

Peterson ran for 210 yards and 199 yards respectively against Dom Capers' defense in 2012, and did so at a very Peterson-like 7.43 yards-per-carry average. 

With Christian Ponder completing a shade under 53 percent of his passes while averaging 176.5 yards through the air in those two games, it's quite obvious that Peterson's performance will ultimately decide Minnesota's fate. 

AP is on such a roll, can the Packers even stop him? 

While there clearly isn't a full-proof plan, adding more defenders to the "box" seems to be the most logical gameplanning tweak. 

Check out this statistical tidbit from ESPN's Kevin Seifert via ESPN Stats and Information:

The Green Bay Packers brought down an extra man down to the line of scrimmage on only 24 percent of his rushes (13 of 55). On the rest, they attempted to stop the NFL's top offensive player with a standard front of seven (or fewer) players. 


However, Seifert goes on to say that:

"On those 13 carries against eight or more Packers defenders in the box, Peterson averaged 6.9 yards per rush. Based on this sample size, at least, the Packers' schematic commitment to stopping Peterson wasn't their primary problem."


The combination of those two statistics essentially states that it has been impossible for Green Bay to stop Peterson, but frankly, they must continue to add defenders closer to the line of scrimmage. 

Sure, gap discipline and fundamentals are more important, but the more players committed to stopping the run closer to the line of scrimmage, the better. 

It's hard to argue that the Vikings should place fewer defenders closer to the line, isn't it? 

Also, by "stacking the box," it'll presumably dare Minnesota to let Ponder beat them, something that, in all likelihood, should play directly into the Packers' hands in what should be a classic playoff battle.