Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, once a force for Minnesota's run defense, hasn't recorded over two tackles through the first five games of his 2011 season.
With the game on, the Vikings were in the exact position they wanted to be: They had the Packers in a position in which they had to run the ball.
With 2:30 on the clock Green Bay was in a position where it had to run the ball to eat up the clock after Vikings coach Leslie Frazier opted to punt on 4th-and-10 from Minnesota's 39-yard line.
The Packers entered the game as the 24th-best rushing offense (97.5 yards per game). Minnesota entered as the No. 5 run-defense (83.5 yards per game).
This was an ideal scenario. It couldn’t have gotten any better—but it turned into a nightmare.
Running back James Starks went off for 55 yards in the final 2:30 of regulation. Minnesota had all three timeouts, but could not stop Starks and the Packers.
Green Bay finished the game with 114 yards on the ground.
Good teams find a way to get it done with the game on the line, especially when its what the team does (for Minnesota, it's stopping the run).
It's also on the veterans to make sure that the team steps up. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who took offense when coach Leslie Frazier called out the defensive line, wasn’t anywhere to be seen Sunday afternoon (he had only two tackles).
As a nine-year veteran and Pro Bowl-caliber player, Williams needs to do more. He needs to be more of a disruptive force inside. He needs to be a leader.
Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson and outside linebacker Chad Greenway also do too. They are the three run-stopping leaders of this team, and they should have led the charge to get Minnesota the ball back.
Greenway at least was productive throughout the game, posting 11 tackles (five solo), but Henderson had three tackles all game. That's an unacceptable total from the middle linebacker.
It's not that this run defense isn’t poor, but it choked with the game on the line and made its coach look bad for not going for it on fourth down.