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McCarthy: 'Our tackles need to be big in this game'

Vikings' pass rusher Everson Griffen has a sack in every game so far in 2017


GREEN BAY -- Mike McCarthy can't be sure yet whether David Bakhtiari or Lane Taylor will be playing left tackle opposite starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga on Sunday in Minnesota, but he does know this:

"Our tackles need to be big in this game," McCarthy said on Friday.

"Every team has pass rushers. You can't win in this league without pass rushers. You look at the environment we're playing in, too. We're playing in a dome, noisy."

Minnesota's top pass rushers are Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. Griffen leads the Vikings with six sacks and has at least one sack in every game this season. His strip-sack near the goal line against Chicago on Monday night set up a Minnesota field goal that gave the Vikings a 3-2 halftime lead when the Bears were otherwise in control.

Plays like Griffen's change games, and the Packers are still working through whether Bakhtiari will be able to come back from his hamstring injury and play for the first time since Week 1, or if regular left guard Lane Taylor will slide over one spot for the third straight week. Kyle Murphy, who is on injured reserve with a foot injury, filled in for Bakhtiari the first two games he missed.

In the locker room on Thursday, Bakhtiari was non-committal as to whether he'd be able to take the field on Sunday. He's been a limited participant in practice for the past couple of weeks.

"David is a player you don't have to worry about as far as help," McCarthy said. "He gets ready, he gets prepared each and every week for his matchup and executes. That tells you the importance of David to our offensive line."

McCarthy similarly praised Bulaga, who has come back from an ankle injury and is slated to play two games in a row for the first time this season.

Elsewhere injury-wise, running back Ty Montgomery practiced with a flak jacket around his injured ribs on Thursday. It's noticeable under his jersey, but McCarthy doesn't have any concerns about it affecting ball security or the way Montgomery holds the ball.

"Red Batty and our equipment staff, they have a combined 130 years of NFL experience, some crazy statistic like that. Those guys are in good hands," McCarthy said. "Same thing with our medical staff. Whatever our guys need to be comfortable or be protected, it's always done with a level of expertise that doesn't put us in a tougher situation."

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