MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 23: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings hands the ball to Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers on October 23, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Usually there's more of a gap between NFC North divisional games, but when the Vikings face the Green Bay Packers next Monday night at Lambeau Field, two of their previous three games will have been against the Packers. They've only had a road game in Carolina (plus a bye week) in between. How much could have changed since then?
The Vikings did notch their second win of the season in Carolina with an assist from K Olindo Mare, who missed a last second 31 yard field goal that would have sent the game into overtime. It was a good second start for Christian Ponder, but it should be taken into consideration that the Panthers have the No. 31 ranked defense according to Football Outsiders. While the Vikings had 361 yards of total offense, Adrian Peterson had 162 yards of it. Shut down AP, and you shut down the Vikings offense. Of course, he ran for 175 yards against the Packers back on October 23rd, so that's easier said then done.
The big help for the Vikings may have been the time off. The Pioneer Press reported that CB Antonie Winfield should return from his neck injury, and WR Percy Harvin less pain from a rib injury. But they'll still be without CB Chris Cook as he "deals with a felony charge." His absence in the secondary might not make any difference based on the way Aaron Rodgers has played this season.