Green Bay Packers Report Card: Grading Each Unit vs. the Minnesota Vikings

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIOctober 24, 2011

Green Bay Packers Report Card: Grading Each Unit vs. the Minnesota Vikings

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    The Green Bay Packers' victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday marked their 13th straight victory dating back to last season. They go into their bye week at 7-0 and must be feeling very good about their undefeated record.

    It wasn't the prettiest win of the season, but it was a win nonetheless and increased Green Bay's divisional lead to two games over the Detroit Lions.

    Here is the Packers' report card as we grade each unit after the game against the Vikings.


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    Is Aaron Rodgers from a different planet? Seriously, there is no way that man is a human being.

    It was just another day at work for Rodgers as he sliced and diced the depleted secondary of the Minnesota Vikings.

    He threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns while posting a ridiculous 146.5 quarterback rating.

    At times it appears as if Rodgers is just toying with his opponents until he takes full advantage of them. That moment came in the third quarter of this game, when Rodgers threw two touchdown passes in the first five minutes of the period.

    Until Rodgers starts playing at a level other than unbelievable, the Green Bay Packers will be unbeatable.

    Final Grade: A+

Running Backs

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    We all know that the Green Bay Packers' run game is never going to be the focal point of the offense.

    With that said, James Starks and Ryan Grant got the job done when needed, especially late in the fourth quarter.

    While Grant wasn't very effective for the majority of the game, Starks finished the game with 75 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards.

    It is almost as if Starks and Grant switch off weeks of being the productive back for Green Bay.

    Even if this group rushed for less than 50 yards, I wouldn't be worried, so when they gain over 100 yards, it is a time of rejoicing.

    Final Grade: B+

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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    Dropped passes has been a big issue the past two weeks for the Green Bay Packers, so it was nice to see only one drop the entire game from this group.

    There really isn't much to say about this group of players.

    When Aaron Rodgers has a day like he had, this group is going to benefit in a huge way. Nine different players had at least one reception, seven of those being either a wide receiver or tight end.

    If there was one area of concern from this group, it is the disappearing play of Jermichael Finley.

    When Rodgers is having a field day, Finley shouldn't have two receptions for 13 yards. He is simply too good for that type of day.

    Final Grade: A-

Offensive Line

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    Going up against Jared Allen proved to be difficult for the Green Bay Packers' offensive line.

    Allen finished the day with two sacks, and the entire Minnesota Vikings' defense had four sacks in the game.

    When Aaron Rodgers wasn't getting sacked, he was under some pretty consistent pressure and was forced to make plays with his feet to get some extra throwing time.

    However, late in the game when the Packers really needed a first down, this unit opened up huge rushing lanes for James Starks to move the chains with.

    Overall, the offensive line played solid, but it would have been nice to see Rodgers take less hits.

    Final Grade: B

Defensive Line

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    The defensive line for the Green Bay Packers played very well against the pass, but they played very poorly against the run.

    B.J. Raji had a sack, and throughout the game the defensive line was able to put pressure on Christian Ponder.

    While some of that success at getting to the quarterback is due to the linebackers, Raji, Wynn and Pickett had a good pass-rush going all game long.

    Unfortunately, they weren't able to do anything to stop Adrian Peterson.

    Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings ran all over this unit for a total of 218 rushing yards—175 of those yards came from Peterson. That is simply too many yards for a team that is supposed to excel against the run.

    Since the Packers came away with the win, I'll be a little more lenient with grading them, but it would be nice to see some improvement next week.

    Final Grade: C+


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    Much like the defensive line, the Green Bay Packers linebackers played well against the pass and struggled against the run.

    Clay Matthews recorded the lone sack for the unit, but Desmond Bishop continued his stellar play by recording a team-high eight total tackles.

    They did a good job at pressuring Christian Ponder all game long and were the catalyst to numerous poor throws by the rookie quarterback.

    Against the run, they didn't do so well.

    They didn't miss many tackles, but they were constantly being pushed back and allowed Adrian Peterson to average over seven yards per carry. That is far too high of an average.

    Overall, it was a good game for Matthews and company, and their upcoming bye week will be much needed.

    Final Grade: B


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    After Christian Ponder threw a 73-yard pass on the first play of the game, I definitely thought it was going to be a long day for the Green Bay Packers' secondary.

    However, they only allowed 147 passing yards the rest of the game and finished with two interceptions off Ponder.

    Both Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson played very well, and even Jarrett Bush played solidly in place of the injured Sam Shields.

    While it is hard to truly gauge how good the secondary played against a rookie quarterback, I was very pleased with the overall performance of the unit.

    Final Grade: A-

Special Teams

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    I think it is safe to say you had a good day when you hit a 58-yard field goal.

    Mason Crosby is still perfect on the year, and Tim Masthay was barely used.

    It was a good day for this part of the special teams.

    The other part of special teams, punt and kick returns, had a more difficult day. Randall Cobb nearly returned a punt for a touchdown, but he also had a key first-half fumble that led to seven points for the Minnesota Vikings.

    While I love Cobb's big-play ability, it would be nice to see him be a little more careful with the football in his hands.

    Final Grade: B+