10-21-2005, 03:04 AM #1
Packers, Vikings have sunk to differing lows
Packers, Vikings have sunk to differing lows
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Posted: 2 hours ago
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Long-running rivals like the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings usually bring out the best in each other.Well, there's plenty left to be extracted from these 1-4 teams.
The last time Green Bay and Minnesota each began a season so badly was in 1991 - the last time, not coincidentally, they both missed the playoffs. The Packers started 1-6 that year and wound up 4-12. The Vikings lost four of their first six games and finished 8-8.
Right now, they're tied at the bottom of a feeble NFC North.
"I still might have hoped that Green Bay was 1-4 and we might have been 4-1, but that's not the case," said Minnesota free safety Darren Sharper, who was let go by the Packers after last season. "Both teams are scrounging for a victory."
Especially the Vikings, who need to win to divert some of the focus from their infamous boat party. With the public disgust over the latest scandal and the frighteningly lopsided margins that Minnesota has been losing by, there's a strong chance the team wearing purple - picked by many to win the division and by some to even reach the Super Bowl - will hear boos from the home crowd when it takes the field Sunday.
"Who knows what to expect?" cornerback Antoine Winfield said.
Green Bay actually has some momentum after a strong second-half Monday night comeback to nearly beat Carolina on Oct. 3, and a 52-3 blowout of New Orleans before a bye last week. But this is widely considered the lowest-quality Packers roster since the early 1990s, pre-Brett Favre, and to make matters worse the Pack has been beset by injuries.
Running back Ahman Green (knee) is expected to return after a one-game absence, but he hasn't rushed for more than 58 yards in a game yet behind a banged-up line trying to break in two new guards. Pro Bowl receiver Javon Walker (knee) is done for the season, as is Green's backup, Najeh Davenport (ankle).
Strongside linebacker Na'il Diggs, who missed the first two games with a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, is out indefinitely after doing the same thing to his right knee.
Not good, but clearly Green Bay now is emitting better vibes than its opponent.
"The guys feel good about themselves," coach Mike Sherman said. "That's a positive. I think they believe in what we're doing and how we're doing it."
The Vikings gave Favre fits throughout most of his career at the Metrodome, but he's led the Packers to consecutive victories there, throwing six touchdowns and only two interceptions over those games.
This year, the 36-year-old has seven TDs and just one interception in his last two games.
"He still looks good to me," said receiver Donald Driver, now the top target with Walker hurt. "He is still throwing the ball well. He is still the leader out there on the field. That's pretty much all you need. You've got a guy that's going to go out there and tell you, 'You need to do this, and you need to do that.' If you stick by what he says, you're pretty much doing the right thing."
Minnesota surprised Chicago last week with a 3-4 look on defense, a decision prompted by a rash of injuries on the line. Though the Vikings lost 28-3, the new scheme produced mostly positive results. Two of the touchdowns they gave up were after drives of 3 yards or less, and a third possession started at their 49-yard line.
This is about all Minnesota has to build on at this point, with a once-mighty offense struggling mightily for many reasons.
"We have had a couple of bumps in a row right now, but I'm still thinking extremely positive about what we can do as a team," Sharper said. "There's always a chance we can switch things around."
Certainly in the NFC North, where the Bears and Detroit Lions are tied at the top with 2-3 records.
"The reality is we're one game out of first place," strong safety Corey Chavous said.
That's the same hope the Packers hold for their season.
"Maybe this is the turnaround right here," said Driver, whose team started 1-4 last year and went on to win the division when the Vikings collapsed for the second straight season. "I'm hoping it's just a turnaround for us. I'm hoping every other team still struggles."
"If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"
10-21-2005, 03:07 AM #2
Re: Packers, Vikings have sunk to differing lows
Please let it be us that breaks out of the funk this weekend!
I get the most pissed off looks from people with my VKG 4 LFE Wisconsin license plate, and I LOVE IT!!
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