Can the Green Bay Packers' Run Defense Bottle Up Adrian Peterson in Week 8?

Bob FoxContributor IOctober 24, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images

Anyone who saw the football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants on Monday night, saw a pathetically played football game offensively, especially by the Vikings.

The Vikings had just 206 total yards, and their quarterback Josh Freeman, who just signed with the team a couple of weeks back, threw the ball an astonishing 53 times, completing just 20 passes for 190 yards. Freeman's passes were high and wild all night.

Meanwhile, 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, had just 13 rushing attempts for 28 yards, which equates to just a 2.2-yard average.

The Vikings did not score a point on offense as they lost to the Giants 23-7.

The Green Bay Packers had to be licking their chops as they started preparing for their game Sunday night against the Vikings at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis.

But then yesterday, the Vikings announced that Freeman had suffered a concussion during the game against the Giants. That injury had not been mentioned after the game at all, and head coach Leslie Frazier told the media on Tuesday that Freeman would remain the starting quarterback of the Vikings.

That all changed yesterday when the Vikings announced the concussion that Freeman had supposedly suffered. How convenient. So now, Freeman's availability for the game is in doubt, and it appears that Christian Ponder might get yet another chance to prove himself as the starting quarterback of the Vikings.

Right now, who starts at quarterback for the Vikings shouldn't really matter for the Packers. Ponder has a 65.9 quarterback rating in 2013, and Freeman has a 40.6 mark. Not exactly ratings to be proud of.

Unlike the ratings of quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, especially against the Vikings in Minneapolis, as I eluded to in a recent story.

Yes, the Packers will be facing off against former Green Bay wide receiver Greg Jennings, but as in almost every game the Packers have played against the Vikings the past several years, the focus will be on stopping Peterson.

"All Day" lit up the Packers last year, rushing for 508 yards and two touchdowns in three games (including the playoffs).

/Getty Images

Peterson has always played well against the Packers over the past six years; he has rushed for 1,442 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has a very robust 5.61 career rushing average against the Packers.

This season, the Packers have had their best run-defense since the 2009 season, when the Packers led the NFL in rushing defense. The Packers are currently third in the league in run defense at 79 yards a game.

The Packers are also catching a bit of a break with Peterson, as he's been hampered by a tender hamstring, and he sat out practice on Wednesday.

But the bottom line is that the Packers have to stop Peterson first and foremost in the game Sunday night. Why?

Because if Peterson has a big night rushing the ball, that also means that even the less-than-mediocre passing game of the Vikings has a chance to make some big plays.

Also, if Peterson can run the ball well, that would keep Rodgers and the second-ranked Green Bay offense off the field, where No. 12 has had huge games in the past.

The mantra for the Packers on Sunday night is simple. Stop "All Day" all night.


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