PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush identifies three players or position groups on the rise, as well as three players or position groups going in the opposite direction.
LOLB Clay Matthews: Don't look now, but all of a sudden, Matthews has four sacks in the last four games after his first multi-sack outing (two sacks for 20 yards in losses against the Vikings Monday night) since Week Two of last season. Matthews also had five tackles and a forced fumble.
CB Charles Woodson: Coming off a very uneven effort against the Chargers, Woodson was a veritable ball of fire all night against the Vikings in Week 10, setting the tone for the Packers' best defensive outing of the year. Woodson had a team-leading nine tackles and three pass breakups.
Packers pass rush: Acknowledging Woodson's plea to bring the house more often in an effort to open up more playmaking opportunities for Matthews, defensive coordinator Dom Capers bombarded bewildered Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder with a variety of different looks. The Packers registered three sacks and six QB hits on Ponder while applying their heaviest pressure in some time.
OLT Marshall Newhouse: Paging Chad Clifton? With the veteran starting left tackle still out with a hamstring injury, Newhouse struggled mightily to hold off Vikings DE Jared Allen for a second time this season. The Packers used more two-TE formations in the second half to give Newhouse some assistance, but a better plan moving forward figures to be a return to action, hopefully soon, by Clifton for the all-important stretch drive.
RB Ryan Grant: Continuing to relinquish playing time to fellow RB James Starks, Grant gained only six yards on eight carries against the Vikings. Starks, meanwhile, averaged 4.8 yards on 13 carries. Grant did have one nice reception for 17 yards, but he appears entrenched as the second fiddle to Starks with the second half of the season just starting to heat up.
WR James Jones: On a night when 10 different receivers caught passes from Aaron Rodgers, Jones was the most forgotten man in Minnesota. Entering the Vikings game with four TD catches in his previous five outings, Jones caught one pass — the only one thrown his way — for nine yards. He also had a fumble on a very forgettable evening.