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Packers-Vikings matchup of the day: Friday

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson vs. Packers run defense

Fresh off an effort that was far from its best matched up against Rams RB Steven Jackson (18 carries for 96 yards), Green Bay's run defense will need to show major improvement in order to keep the dangerous Peterson in check. At the age of 26, there isn't a better back in the league. Currently ranked third in the NFC behind Eagles RB LeSean McCoy and Niners RB Frank Gore, Peterson has rushed for 537 yards on 122 carries (4.4 yards per carry) with seven TDs.

Facing nine-man fronts more often than not, Peterson has exceptional vision. He can cut back on a dime and has breakaway speed. Since it normally takes more than one tackler to bring him down, the Packers' run defenders will need to swarm around him as much as possible when he gets the ball and do a much better job of tackling than they have recently.

The Packers are currently ranked fifth in rushing yards allowed, giving up 82.8 yards per game. Peterson has gained more than 82 yards himself in three of Minnesota's six games. Last year against the Packers, he had 28-131-1 in the first game in Week Seven and 14-72 in the second game in Week 11. The Packers have allowed more than 95 yards rushing in only two games this season, but those games have been within the past three weeks, including a 118-yard rushing yield last week.

ILBs Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk (23 tackles combined last week vs. Rams) figure to be Green Bay's key run defenders. Bishop normally stops opposing runners in their tracks, but Peterson is seldom stopped cold. Disciplined gap control by the Packers' front seven will be a must.

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