Here are three stocks going up and three stocks going down after the Vikings' loss to the Packers on Monday night.
DT Christian Ballard — Ballard had his best game of the season, making the most of his playing time Monday. He was very good against the run, shedding blocks and forcing the Packers' running backs to bounce runs designed to go up the middle to the outside. He also made an excellent play toward the end of the first quarter, when he tackled James Starks for a four-yard loss. He had three tackles, including the one for loss, on the night
TE Kyle Rudolph — Rudolph's involvement in the gameplan has vacillated from week-to-week, and it did again here. He was only targeted once before the Vikings' final drive of the game. However, on that final drive, he showed his potential as a playmaker in the seam, making an excellent one-handed grab on a high throw in tight coverage. The team is high on Rudolph because of his pass-catching ability, but the team needs to get him involved earlier in the game so he can be more of a factor.
DE Jared Allen — He got another sack Monday, but what's most encouraging is the way he played the run and kept contain on Aaron Rodgers. He wasn't washed away on draw plays like he was earlier in the season and shed blocks to make plays in the backfield. Also, he didn't rush up-field using the speed rush and create scrambling lanes for Aaron Rodgers, doing a good job of containing Rodgers to the pocket and pursuing well when he broke it.
Special teams — The special-teams miscues were numerous and costly for the Vikings Monday. They allowed a punt-return touchdown on the first punt of the game and were down 7-0 before Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense even took the field. On the punt, P Chris Kluwe kicked an line drive down the middle of the field and the coverage team did a bad job of maintaining their lanes and tackling in the open field. Also in the first quarter, DT Fred Evans was flagged for a false-start penalty on a 47-yard Ryan Longwell field-goal attempt. When Longwell lined up for 52-yarder, he left it a couple yards short of the goalposts.
Pass protection — Christian Ponder had a very difficult time identifying blitzes and the offense line struggled to pick them up. There were times when Clay Matthews came unblocked or was blocked by the combination of Adrian Peterson and Ryan D'Imperio (Matthews got a strip sack in that situation). Charles Woodson killed the Vikings all night with slot blitzes and Ponder was forced from the pocket on way too many dropbacks. Phil Loadholt in particular had a rough game dealing with Matthews.
DE Brian Robison — Robison has been an invisible man the last few weeks, with only seven tackles and no sacks in the last four games. Watching him, he doesn't appear to be getting the explosion off the ball that he was against the Lions or the Cardinals. He's a player with an excellent first step who's at his best when he can time the snap count and use his speed to beat the tackle. He hasn't been able to do that the last few weeks as teams have countered his speed rush. He needs to add more moves to his arsenal to continue to be the pass-rushing force he was earlier in the season.