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Vikings vs. Packers: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Green Bay

Michael DulkaContributor IJanuary 5, 2013

Vikings vs. Packers: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Green Bay

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    The Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-3 to advance to the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs. With a victory, the Packers will travel to play the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday. 

    Aaron Rodgers got the Packers off to a good start in the first half and into the second half. He lead the team to two rushing touchdowns and added a passing touchdown to take a 24-3 lead. The Packers held on to get the victory during a lackluster fourth quarter. 

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

Quarterbacks

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    Aaron Rodgers–B+

    Aaron Rodgers put together a great performance for a second straight week against the Vikings. He only got one touchdown, but set-up both the rushing touchdowns. He missed a couple throws and held onto the ball too long on a couple dropbacks. 

Runningbacks

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    DuJuan Harris–A

    Harris came with eight yards of out-gaining Adrian Peterson for total yardage. Peterson finished with 99 rushing yards and eight receiving yards for a total of 107 yards. Harris finished the game with 47 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards for a total of 100 yards. Harris has given the Packers a running game and his ability to make plays in the receiving game was a nice, new addition to the Packers offense. 

    Ryan Grant–D

    Grant wasn't able to get anything going on the ground and his best play of the day was his 16-yard reception. Harris has completely taken over the Packers rushing attack. Grant should continue to get carries, but needs to do better with them next week. 

    John Kuhn–B+

    Kuhn was great in the red zone with two touchdowns. He scored one on the ground and another through the air as proved to a be the Packers short-yardage threat. The play-calling and blocking hurt him at times, but when given good opportunities, Kuhn did well. 

Wide Receivers

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    Greg Jennings–B

    Jennings put together another strong performance and continues to look better with each week back on the field. His smooth route-running and ability to make plays after the catch give the Packers a great weapon heading into the playoffs. 

    James Jones–B-

    Jones didn't find the end zone, but came up with four catches for 51 yards. He was the only Packers wide receiver to have a catch each time he was targeted. While he has struggled with drops in the past, Jones seems to have completely turned the page on those issues. 

    Jordy Nelson–C+

    Nelson didn't have a big role in this game as he didn't get any snaps until the second quarter. When he did get in the game, Nelson played well, but looked a little off. He had a miscommunication with Rodgers that caused an incompletion and almost dropped his 23-yard catch. 

    Randall Cobb–D

    The Packers biggest weapon throughout the season didn't have a big role in this game. He was only targeted twice and came up with a 7-yard catch. He also got two carries out of the backfield, but only gained six yards. 

Tight Ends

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    Jermichael Finley–C-

    Finley only got one catch on three targets. He was forced to battle through physical play from the Vikings and often got up calling for a flag on a number of plays. Finley missed a block early in the game, but did well on other plays with his blocking responsibilities.

    Tom Crabtree–B

    Crabtree did a nice job helping the Packers offensive line to block throughout the game. Crabtree adds a physical nature to the Packers that is sometimes missing. He showed great effort on a second quarter play in which he leveled a pass rusher, caught a pass and hurdled a defender. The play ignited the rest of the team as they put the pressure on the Vikings.

Offensive Line

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    Marshall Newhouse–B

    Newhouse did a great job against Jared Allen, although he may have gotten away with a couple of holds. Allen was held mostly silent throughout the evening outside of his one sack. 

    T.J. Lang–C+

    Lang got blasted in the running game inside the 2-yard line which forced a Packers field goal instead of a touchdown. Other than that, Lang was fairly good in keeping Rodgers upright and creating lanes for the running backs. 

    Evan Dietrich-Smith–B

    Dietrich-Smith continues to play in his new position. The Packers haven't missed a beat since Jeff Saturday went out of the lineup. Dietrich-Smith also adds a lot in the running game as a physical player. 

    Josh Sitton–B+

    Sitton played a great game and was extremely quiet. He gave time to Rodgers and played well in the rushing game. He has proven he's incredible worthy of a pro-bowl selection despite being snubbed. He and the rest of the Packers did a great job to avoid holding penalties. 

    Don Barclay–B-

    Barclay was much better than last week and put together a decent performance. His physicality adds a lot in the run game. It's no coincidence that the Packers have improved their rushing attack since Barclay has been in the lineup. 

Defensive Line

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    B.J. Raji–A-

    Raji was beastly again for the Packers and did a great job to blow up the Vikings offensive line and push back the line of scrimmage. His ability to get initial push allowed the rest of the Packers to crash down on Adrian Peterson and get stops. 

    C.J. Wilson–B

    Wilson played a strong game as he also got some good push up-front. He was incredible active on Peterson and came up with six tackles on the night. He readdition to the lineup and strong play was big for the Packers in shutting down Peterson. 

    Ryan Pickett–B

    Pickett also did very well to help clog the middle and make things difficult for Peterson. His presence in the middle along with the linebackers setting strong edges limited where Peterson was able to go with his carries. 

    Mike Neal–C+

    Neal got one quarterback hit and one tackle on the afternoon. He didn't have a very big game, but he did well enough to allow others in the front seven to make plays. As part of the rotation, Neal allowed the other defensive linemen to get some rest.

    Mike Daniels–C

    Daniels had a decent game, but failed to come up with any big plays while in the game. He wasn't able to get great pressure, but did well enough to earn his snaps. 

Linebackers

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    Clay Matthews–A

    Matthews was incredible after disappearing at times last week. He got constant pressure on Joe Webb and was credited with two sacks, a forced fumble and a recovery. He also did well to set the edge in the rush defense and help to limit Adrian Peterson's success. Matthews was special and will need to be going forward for the Packers to have a chance at the Super Bowl. 

    Erik Walden–A-

    Walden got beat early in the game on a Webb-option, but recovered with a great game the rest of the way. Walden was incredible physical against Peterson and did a nice job to get pressure on Webb. He finished the game with a sack and another tackle for a loss. 

    Dezman Moses–B

    Moses had a strong game and did fell on the Vikings muffed punt late in the game. Moses' strong play has allowed the Packers to keep both him and Walden fresh down the stretch of the season. 

    A.J. Hawk–C-

    Hawk didn't have a very active game as he finished with only two tackle and he was involved in the miscommunication late in the game on the Vikings touchdown. Hawk's tackle numbers were surprisingly low, but it's not a huge concern with how well the Packers tackled. 

    Brad Jones–C+

    Jones missed a tackle on the Vikings first third down attempt of the game, but improved his tackling throughout the game. He was extremely physical with five total tackles on the evening. Jones has been a savior with solid play at the inside linebacker following injuries to D.J. Smith and Desmond Bishop. 

Defensive Backs

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    Tramon Williams–B

    After a terrible performance last week, Williams bounced back in this game. He was a lot more physical with four tackles and came up with three big pass defenses. As the Packers face better passing attacks in the playoffs, Williams will be needed to put together performances similar to this one. 

    Sam Shields–A

    The biggest criticism on Shields over the last few years has been his lack of physicality. Shields deserves a ton of credit for his turnover around this season and especially in this game. he lead the team in tackles with seven and came up with a gorgeous interception. 

    Charles Woodson–B+

    The big question all week was whether Woodson would be able to make enough of a difference for the Packers defense. He may not have been the complete difference, but he did a great job when he had chances to tackle Peterson. His toughness seemed to encourage the rest of the defense to get more physical. 

    Casey Hayward–C+

    Hayward was mostly quiet on the afternoon, but did come up with four tackles on the game. His solid play has helped the Packers limit the effectiveness of opposing teams wide receivers in the slot. 

    Morgan Burnett–B-

    Burnett didn't come up with any big plays, but put a solid game. He finished the game with four total tackles. He did miss a tackle early in the game, but looked much better than he did last week. 

    Jerron McMillian–C

    McMillian didn't get many snaps with Charles Woodson back in the lineup, but did come up with one tackle on the evening. With decreased snaps, he will need to be ready when he does get opportunities to play. 

    M.D. Jennings–B+

    Jennings got a decrease in snaps as well, but still managed to come up with three tackles. He played physical and will be asked to play depending on which formations the Packers use.  

Special Teams

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    Mason Crosby–B

    Mason Crosby hit all three extra points and his one field attempt very well. That's been the biggest issue during his slump over the second half of the season. When he's hit the ball well, he's been pretty accurate. 

    Tim Masthay–B-

    Masthay delivered a terrible first punt by out-kicking his coverage and allowing the Vikings a decent return. He was better over his last seven punts, but only averaged 37.8 yards per punt. His average was low because he pinned the Vikings inside the 20-yard line three times. He needs to continue to punt well, especially if the Packers play a tight game. 

    Jeremy Ross–C

    Ross only averaged 14 yards per return on his two kickoff returns, but did show some burst on his second attempt. He should get the nod as the Packers kickoff returner in San Francisco. It would be nice to see him take over on punts as well. 

    Randall Cobb–D

    Cobb averaged 4.3 yards per return on his four returns and danced around too much after fielding the ball. He needs to just catch the ball and get up field in order to get some yardage. Hopefully with Ross' strong play and Cobb not doing as well, the Packers will move Cobb off punts. 

Coaching

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    Mike McCarthy–B

    McCarthy coached a very good game and was able to get his team out of the gates fairly well. Another three-and-out to start the game was alarming, but they got it going after that. McCarthy did a good job of having his football team ready to play against a team opponent on a short week. 

    Dom Capers–A

    Capers was the star of the Packers coaching staff for the performance his unit together. They held Adrian Peterson to under 100 yards after he averaged over 200 yards in the first two meetings. He did a great job dialing up blitz to get enough pressure on Joe Webb to force mistakes. 

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