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Notebook: Clifton Questionable For Monday

Starting left tackle Chad Clifton did not participate in practice for the third straight day on Saturday due to an injured ankle, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said there is still a chance he could play Monday night at Minnesota. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 3


Starting left tackle Chad Clifton did not participate in practice for the third straight day on Saturday due to an injured ankle, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said there is still a chance he could play Monday night at Minnesota.

Clifton sustained the injury early in the third quarter of Green Bay's Week 2 loss to Cincinnati, and McCarthy said he is "making progress" after watching him go through a workout following Saturday's practice. McCarthy said Clifton will be put through another workout at the Metrodome on Monday before the team makes a final determination on his status for the game.

"There were some things that he did in his workout today that were very encouraging compared to the workout he was put through two days ago, and there's a couple things that we need to see him do Monday," McCarthy said. "And if I see what I like, and Dr. Pat McKenzie is OK with it from a medical standpoint, he'll have an opportunity to play in the game."

McCarthy wouldn't say that Clifton would start if he was healthy enough to suit up against the Vikings.

"I'm not there yet," McCarthy said. "Once he gets past the health part of it...I fully anticipate Daryn Colledge starting at left tackle, if you're looking for a statement."

Colledge took all of the reps at left tackle this week, and McCarthy said the decision to hold Clifton out of Saturday's jog-through was more about getting Colledge additional snaps at the position than it was preventing Clifton from aggravating his injury.

Colledge slid over from left guard to start at left tackle last Sunday in St. Louis for Clifton, the third start of his career there. It was his first since opening up in place of Clifton at Tennessee last season in Week 9 when he was sidelined due to an allergic reaction to medication. If Colledge gets the start on Monday, he'll be matched up against Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen.

"I'm confident in Daryn Colledge," McCarthy said. "I think fully another week of practice being out there (helps). He has experience playing left tackle. He's up for the challenge. I think he's really improved with each practice. He looks a lot more comfortable this week than he was last week."

Clifton will benefit from the Packers having their bye next Sunday, but McCarthy said that the upcoming time off wouldn't be much of a factor in the team's decision on his availability for Monday.

"I think it would be different if you were talking about a player that you didn't have as much history with or experience with," McCarthy said. "Chad's played a lot of football here. The medical staff is very familiar with him as far as coming off of injuries and so forth. I'm going to trust their opinion.

"This is my fourth year working with Chad, and if I think he can go on Monday night and I think he can contribute, then he'll contribute. But if he cannot, then we have two weeks to get him ready for Detroit. It's really as clear as that."

Running man

Over the last two games, quarterback Aaron Rodgers accomplished something that a Packers signal-caller hadn't done in nearly 19 years.

After setting a new career high with 43 rushing yards on four carries against Cincinnati in Week 2, Rodgers followed that performance up with 38 yards on eight attempts, including a 4-yard touchdown run on a draw play, at St. Louis in Week 3.

It was the first time a Packers quarterback posted back-to-back games with 35-plus rushing yards since Don Majkowski did it in 1990, running for 46 yards vs. Cincinnati on Sept. 23, 1990, and then 88 at Detroit the next week.

"I think he is definitely more comfortable the more he does it," McCarthy said. "He is an excellent athlete. I think on the quarterback draw that we ran (for the touchdown at St. Louis), he showed that, the ability to make a guy miss to get into the end zone. He is an excellent athlete."

Rodgers leads all NFL quarterbacks with 88 yards on 15 carries (5.9 avg.) this season, and has posted five runs of 10-plus yards, which also leads the league. Rodgers rushed for 207 yards on 56 attempts (3.7 avg.) last season, the most by a Green Bay quarterback since Brett Favre posted 216 yards in 1993. His four rushing touchdowns were the most since Majkowski's five in 1989.

Rodgers rushed for 35-plus yards twice last season, including vs. Minnesota in his first NFL start in Week 1. In that contest he posted 35 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, including a career-long 21-yard scamper in the second quarter. It was the first time the Vikings had allowed a quarterback to post 35 yards in a game since Oct. 2, 2005, at Atlanta, when two quarterbacks, Michael Vick (58) and Matt Schaub (56), accomplished the feat.

{sportsad300}Rodgers' athleticism has allowed him to not only pick up yardage with his feet, but also buy him some time when he rolls out on passing plays. For quarterbacks, there is always a fine line between running the ball and risking injury, but McCarthy said Rodgers has done a good job so far of taking advantage of opportunities while also protecting himself.

"I thought Aaron was smart with his feet (at St. Louis)," McCarthy said. "Both times on our boundary he got out of bounds. There were near hits that were late out of bounds, but I thought he was smart getting out of bounds. A number of times when he broke containment, he definitely was looking to pass first and not run, and I think that is all about being smart in space.

"I'm not interested in running the 'Wildcat' with him or him turning up and doing whirlybirds and taking hits or anything. That's not what running the football is about for the quarterback, but for the most part I think he has been smart in space."

Injury/participation update

Safety Atari Bigby (knee), running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) and linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee) are out for Monday.

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins (groin), wide receiver Greg Jennings (wrist), defensive end Johnny Jolly (abdomen), nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) and cornerback Charles Woodson (foot) were all full participants in Saturday's practice and are probable.

For Minnesota, linebacker Erin Henderson (calf) and wide receiver Darius Reynaud (hamstring) are doubtful for Monday.

Guard Steve Hutchinson (back) and fullback Naufahu Tahi (back) were both limited participants in Saturday's practice and are questionable.

Favre (foot), cornerback Cedric Griffin (hand), linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder), tight end Jim Kleinsasser (hand) and punter Chris Kluwe (illness) are all probable.

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