Vikings-Packers matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Oct. 20, 2011 @ 9:56 a.m.
Posted By Christian West

Here's a key matchup to watch in Sunday's Vikings-Packers game.

Vikings secondary vs. Packers wide receivers

The receiving corps is so deep in Green Bay that the Packers' all-time leading receiver Donald Driver has been relegated to fourth-string status. Jordy Nelson has emerged as a big-play guy, and Greg Jennings is still one of the best in the league and continues to play at a high level.

Vikings CB Antoine Winfield has missed the past two games and is still banged up with a neck injury, with his status uncertain for Sunday. Second-year CB Chris Cook has stepped up and played well this season, but Cedric Griffin has struggled, especially recently. He had a hard time staying attached to receivers in man coverage against the Bears in Week Six, allowing them too much space that made for easy completions. With the crisp route running of the Packers, that kind of play will get torched often.

The safety play also needs to improve. Husain Abdullah took a dreadful angle to the ball on Devin Hester's 48-yard touchdown catch, allowing Hester to get behind him instead of maintaining leverage over-the-top.

The Packers' passing game thrives on taking chunks of 15 yards or more out of the field before hitting the explosive play 30-plus yards downfield. The Vikings' secondary needs to play tighter man coverage to keep things shorter and tackle, while getting better safety play to prevent guys like Nelson or James Jones from getting over the top.

With all of the talent the Packers can put on the field, it will be a tough assignment.