Vikings - Packers Headline Articles
Since there will be a lot of articles on our clean sweep of the Packers, I'll put them all under here when applicable.
[size=18px] Vikings rookie Edwards picks off Favre for a score [/size]
Last update: November 22, 2005 at 1:13 AM
Minneapolis Star Tribune
GREEN BAY, WIS. - Vikings rookie cornerback Dovonte Edwards intercepted a pass by Green Bay's Brett Favre and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter Monday night during the Vikings' 20-17 victory at Lambeau Field.
It was the third-longest interception return by a Vikings player on "Monday Night Football."
Walker Lee Ashley took one 94 yards for a touchdown in 1988 against Chicago, and Jack Del Rio took one 84 yards for a touchdown in 1992 against Chicago.
Vikings make Burleson sit
The Vikings deactivated wide receiver Nate Burleson, apparently because of a buildup of physical ailments. Those issues caused coach Mike Tice to bar Burleson from practicing Thursday, and his immediate future is unclear.
As a result, the Vikings went into the game with only four active receivers. Marcus Robinson replaced Burleson in the starting lineup, opening the game alongside Travis Taylor, and the pair were backed up by Koren Robinson and Troy Williamson.
Burleson missed three games earlier this season because of a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He returned to start the past four games, but he has caught only eight passes in that stretch and has appeared limited physically.
The knee swelled after last week's 24-21 victory over the N.Y. Giants, and team officials said he also was suffering from a sore shoulder and a bruised hip. Tice insisted he rest during the team's full-contact practice Thursday, and while Burleson practiced Friday and Saturday, Tice left open the possibility that Burleson might not play again until his various ailments show improvement.
"Nate is not Nate right now," Tice said Thursday. "I need him to get back to being the guy that he is with all that great energy and playmaking. He's banged up. ... Nate is not going to tell you that he is hurt, but he is hurt.
In other injury news, center Melvin Fowler's strained oblique muscle prevented him from starting Monday night. Cory Withrow replaced him, as he did throughout the week of practice with the first team.
Fowler was in uniform for Monday's game and was available to play if necessary. In addition to Burleson, the Vikings also deactivated cornerback Fred Smoot, running back Adimchinobe Echemandu, guard Chris Liwienski, tight end Jeff Dugan, tight end Richard Angulo, defensive end Spencer Johnson. J.T. O'Sullivan was the third quarterback.
A few leftover tidbits from the former Vikings receiver Randy Moss' interview with ESPN last week:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ On whether he has toned down his end zone celebrations since mooning fans at Lambeau Field during a wild-card playoff game in January: "Yeah, [NFL Commissioner ] Paul Tagliabue and the boys in the front office don't like that stuff no more."
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Moss said he hasn't tried to make strategic suggestions on the sideline during games now that he is with the Oakland Raiders. He was well-known for barking out ideas to coaches and quarterbacks while with the Vikings.
"In Minnesota, I could say something and make a difference," Moss said. "In Oakland, there are so many people yelling on the sideline trying to get things fixed that my opinion wouldn't help."
Johnson throws a pick
Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson threw 88 passes this season before throwing his first interception.
On the first play of the second quarter, Johnson tried to hit running back Mewelde Moore down the right sideline. Moore was covered by Packers linebacker Nick Barnett, and Johnson's high throw was intercepted by free safety Nick Collins. It was the first interception of Collins' career.
Vikings play-by-play voice Paul Allen fell ill before Monday's game but still attempted to get through the broadcast.
Mark Rosen, the WCCO-TV sports anchor who also works for Vikings flagship station KFAN, was prepared to take over the play-by-play duties if Allen was unable to continue.
Rosen has experience calling games on television. Allen appeared to be battling a stomach virus.
Kicker Paul Edinger's 49-yard field-goal attempt came up short on the Vikings' first drive, making him 2-for-8 on attempts on grass fields this season. He later made chip shots of 24 and 27 yards, however, the latter being the game-winner.
Edinger also failed on two first-quarter field-goal tries against the Giants, hitting one wide left from 40 yards and having another blocked from 32 yards. But he made the game-winning kick from 48 yards with 10 seconds left against the Giants.
Edinger is 16-for-24 on field-goal tries this season, including 4-for-6 from 40 to 49 yards.
Rookie Marcus Johnson replaced right tackle Mike Rosenthal in the second quarter after Rosenthal gave up two sacks to the Packers' Aaron Kampman and was called for holding early in the drive on which he was benched.
The Vikings also made a change at left guard in the second quarter when new starter Toniu Fonoti was replaced by Anthony Herrera. Vikings coaches figured the 386-pound Fonoti would need a rest.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Vikings' ended their "Monday Night Football" appearances on ABC with a 22-22 record. ESPN will take over Monday telecasts next season after 36 years. The Vikings made their first Monday night appearance on Oct. 26, 1970, beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The past seven meetings between the Vikings and Packers have been decided by five points or fewer. That is the second-longest such streak in NFL history, trailing the eight consecutive games between Philadelphia and Washington from 1991 to '95.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Packers fullback William Henderson, long a key to Green Bay's passing game, made his 300th reception in the second quarter.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Vikings defensive end Erasmus James, the Wisconsin star drafted in the first round last spring, played his first pro game in Wisconsin and recorded his first NFL sack.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Favre's start was the 29th of his career on Monday night but his first against the Vikings since 2000. That was the game in which then-Packers receiver Antonio Freeman caught a deflected pass and went 43 yards for an overtime touchdown in Green Bay's 26-20 victory.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Former defensive lineman John Randle, who retired after the 2003 season, attended Monday's game courtesy of owner Zygi Wilf's new alumni program. Wilf has invited a former player to travel with the team to each road game.
Staff writers Kevin Seifert, Judd Zulgad and Jim Souhan contributed to this notebook
Re: Vikings - Packers Headline Articles
Posted on Tue, Nov. 22, 2005
fron The Mercury News
[size=18px]Minnesota 20, Green Bay 17[/size]
GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Minnesota Vikings' offense awoke just in time to tear out the Packers' hearts as time expired - again.
This kick was a tad easier.
A month after hitting a team-record 56-yarder to beat Green Bay at the Metrodome, Paul Edinger did it again from 27 yards Monday night to sink the Packers with a 20-17 victory that keeps Minnesota's season afloat.
Missing an injured Daunte Culpepper, rocked by lewd allegations from a boating trip and given up for dead a month ago, Minnesota is now 5-5 and still in the hunt for the playoffs after winning three in a row.
As for the Packers, their season is all but over after their division rival swept them for the first time since 1998.
"This one may be the worst because No. 1, it was Minnesota; No. 2, it was at home; and No. 3, it was Minnesota again," said Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman.
Minnesota has struggled mightily on offense since Culpepper was lost for the season with a knee injury, mustering just 137 yards last week in an unlikely win over the Giants. But they put together a strong showing behind Brad Johnson's 196 yards and running back Mewelde Moore, who had 122 yards on 22 carries.
The 37-year-old Johnson set up Edinger's kick with a nine-play, 58-yard drive in the final 3 minutes and three seconds after Green Bay tied it at 17.
"You can't get frustrated," said Johnson, who was 18-of-30. "Tonight we made the drives when we had to, especially in the second half. ... You just have to be patient and do what you've done in practice."
Minnesota coach Mike Tice shuffled his offensive line this week hoping to inject some life into the offense, starting 380-plus-pound Toniu Fonoti at left guard and Cory Withrow at center. It worked, for the most part.
Johnson was sacked five times, fumbling twice, and Minnesota couldn't muster much offense in the first half. But just like last week - when the Vikings returned a punt, kickoff and interception for touchdowns - they found another way.
With Green Bay driving, Dovonte Edwards intercepted Brett Favre's pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown with a little more than a minute left in the first half.
"It was exciting," Edwards said. "I had a dream actually last night that I would do something big today and it came true. Mike Tice said you need to dream, dream about making plays and that's what I did last night and it happened for me tonight."
The play was reviewed after Edwards and intended receiver Andrae Thurman crashed to the ground at the same time. But officials ruled Edwards was not down by contact before he got up and scored.
Favre atoned for the mistake seconds later, hitting Donald Driver for a 53-yard touchdown pass after the receiver beat cornerback Antoine Winfield and outran former Packers safety Darren Sharper. Green Bay led 14-7 at the half.
It was the second half when Minnesota's offense came alive.
The Packers couldn't capitalize on Johnson's fumble early in the third quarter and were forced to punt, pinning the Vikings at their own 12. Minnesota then put together its best drive of the game, aided by two defensive penalties inside the Green Bay 10-yard line.
The second, a pass interference call in the end zone, put the ball at the 1-yard line. Ciatrick Fason plunged into the end zone on his second attempt - Minnesota's first offensive touchdown in nine quarters.
The win puts the Vikings at .500 for the first time this season and keeps them in the postseason hunt, two games behind NFC North leader Chicago (7-3).
Meanwhile, the loss puts the Packers (2-8) on the verge of ending an impressive streak - they haven't had a losing season since Favre took over as starter in 1992, a run of 13 years that's best in the league. They have to win out to avoid snapping that run, an unlikely task with Chicago (twice) and Seattle (8-2) left on the schedule.
Favre finished the game 20-for-33 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He declined to speak to the media following the game, a rarity for the 14-year veteran.
Favre has worked without a running game much of the season, and Monday night was no different.
Samkon Gado was last week's feel good story of the NFL after the Nigerian immigrant rushed for 103 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Packers' win over Atlanta. But the rookie looked like a one-game wonder Monday.
"I hadn't heard about that running back before last week, and I told the guys I didn't want to hear about him again after tonight," Tice said.
Gado caught a nice pass for 30 yards - his career long - on Green Bay's first scoring drive. But his first 10 rushes netted just nine yards, he dropped a pass late in the second quarter while wide open and fumbled early in the third deep in Packers' territory.
Tony Fisher replaced him on the next drive, but the Packers were held to 21 yards rushing. The Vikings held Green Bay to a then-season-low 45 yards rushing the last time the two met.
NOTES: ... Driver's touchdown catch in the first quarter gave him 58 straight games with a reception, tied for third in Packer history. Sterling Sharpe is No. 1 with 103. ... Moore set a season high rushing with 122 yards. ... Green Bay fullback William Henderson notched the 300th catch of his career. ... The past seven regular season games between the two teams have been decided by five points or less.
Re: Vikings - Packers Headline Articles
[size=18px]Tice turns juggler, and his offensive line turns potent[/size]
Changes proved effective in the second half and helped the Vikings engineer a 62-yard drive that gave them the lead.
Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
Last update: November 22, 2005 at 1:09 AM
GREEN BAY, WIS. - The Vikings' offensive line shuffle continued Monday night with two expected changes and another that wasn't. In the end, coach Mike Tice's juggling act ended with a five-man unit that put together an impressive second-half performance in the Vikings' 20-17 victory over Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Let's start with the unexpected. In the midst of a second-quarter drive by his team, Tice benched right tackle Mike Rosenthal in favor of rookie Marcus Johnson.
Rosenthal had been called for a hold on a first-and-10 play from the Vikings 30 and then gave up a sack to Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman that resulted in an 8-yard loss.
The Vikings used a timeout after the sack -- it came on the sixth play of the drive and put the ball on their own 47 -- and made the move to Johnson.
Rosenthal returned for two plays in the second half but only when Johnson shifted to an eligible receiver slot as an extra blocker in a "heavy package" designed for run plays.
The benching of Rosenthal came after Tice already had announced his decision to do the same to left guard Chris Liwienski last week and have newcomer Toniu Fonoti start in his place. Liwienski, who had started 75 consecutive games, wasn't active. When Liwienski was sitting, center Cory Withrow returned to a starting role.
Withrow began the season in that capacity but was benched in favor of Melvin Fowler after four games. Fowler was pulled after the first half of last week's victory over the New York Giants because of a strained oblique muscle, and Tice indicated Fowler would not play if he wasn't ready. Tice and Steve Loney, the Vikings' offensive coordinator and line coach, clearly felt that was the case.
The Vikings coaches entered Monday night aware that backup Anthony Herrera might need to replace Fonoti, who, at 386 pounds, is 35 pounds heavier than his listed playing weight. Fonoti's lack of familiarity with the offense also was an issue.
But though Herrera did spell Fonoti on occasion in the first half, a full-time move to the 6-2, 315-pound Herrera had to be made in the third quarter after Fonoti suffered a left groin strain.
The Vikings were able to put together an eight-play, 62-yard drive and take the lead behind some solid blocking by a line that looked like this: left tackle Bryant McKinnie; left guard Herrera; center Withrow; right guard Adam Goldberg; and right tackle Johnson.
The two most impressive rushes on that drive came on back-to-back plays when running back Mewelde Moore gained 24 yards on first-and-10 from the Packers 43 and then gained 9 yards on another first down from the Packers 19.
Johnson's return to the field was not a complete surprise. The Vikings had thought enough of the 6-6, 321-pound tackle to invest a second-round pick in him, and Tice had raved about his athletic ability during training camp. Johnson had started the first four games at right guard.
Rosenthal's departure means McKinnie is the only Vikings lineman who hasn't been replaced at some point this season.
Re: Vikings - Packers Headline Articles
Posted Nov. 22, 2005
[size=18px]Vikings notebook: Sharper all smiles after win [/size]
By Benjamin Wideman
Darren Sharper didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to say a word as he sauntered through the visitorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ locker room at Lambeau Field.
His beaming smile and confident strut said it all.
In his first game in Green Bay since leaving the Packers for the NFC North-rival Minnesota Vikings in the offseason, the free safety basked in his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 20-17 victory Monday night.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It always feels more special when you are able to beat a team you were with,Ã¢â‚¬? Sharper said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s payback or anything like that, because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not about that. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really about us winning football games and getting back to .500.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be lying to say it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a little sweeter to beat your old team.Ã¢â‚¬?
Whenever SharperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name was announced over the loudspeaker, and sporadically throughout pregame warm-ups, fans heartily booed the man who spent eight seasons patrolling Green BayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defensive backfield.
Sharper said it only fueled him to work that much harder.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They boo you because they love you,Ã¢â‚¬? said Sharper, who had three tackles. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I heard a lot of people saying things, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all in fun. Their ride home is going to be a little sour compared to ours.Ã¢â‚¬?
Former Badger James gets sack
Sharper wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the only Vikings player returning to Wisconsin.
Former University of Wisconsin star defensive end Erasmus James immediately made his presence felt, sacking quarterback Brett Favre for a 9-yard loss on Green BayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second play from scrimmage.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was great being back, especially to get that sack on Brett and have the whole stadium be quiet,Ã¢â‚¬? said James, who spearheaded the BadgersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 9-0 start last season and finished the year with a team-high eight sacks.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Last time (on Oct. 23 at Minnesota), I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even able to get a hand on Brett, so that was kind of nice to get him on the ground. But heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to sack, you know that? If you get a sack on him, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re doing a lot, because that play might turn into a touchdown with someone like Brett Favre.Ã¢â‚¬?
James, the VikingsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 18th pick in AprilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s draft, also deflected FavreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pass intended for fullback William Henderson in the third quarter. If Henderson caught the ball, he likely wouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve picked up a first down deep in Vikings territory.
Also returning to Wisconsin was Minnesota running back Michael Bennett, a Milwaukee native who played for the Badgers. He carried five times for 10 yards.
More for Moore
Vikings running back Mewelde Moore set a season-high rushing with 122 yards.
Re: Vikings - Packers Headline Articles
i liked the whole darren Sharper Mic'd up thing.