Packers-Vikings Notebook - Green Questionable, Fisher Ready


The Packers might not know until Sunday whether Ahman Green's injured knee will prevent him from making the start at tailback against the Minnesota Vikings.

Green didn't participate in any of the Packers' full practices this week -- there will be a team walkthrough Saturday -- instead taking the time to rehab the injury, which he suffered at the end of a 29-yard run in the third quarter last weekend.

He returned in the fourth quarter and made one carry before being removed for precautionary reasons.

If Green can't play this weekend it would mark only his second missed game in the last three seasons. The only other time he sat out was in Week 3 of this year, when an injured quadriceps kept him sidelined against Detroit.

His replacement that game was rookie Najeh Davenport. But with Davenport on injured reserve with a broken eye socket, fellow rookie Tony Fisher is now saddled with the load of being Green's backup.

Against the Chicago Bears, Fisher was impressive in that role, managing 91 yards on 17 carries in the second half.

If backing up a two-time 1,000-yard rusher is supposed to be a tall task for a rookie, especially one signed as an undrafted free agent, Fisher doesn't seem to notice.

"Every week I go in there with the confidence that I'm capable of going in and getting the job done," Fisher said. "I've been playing on special teams, so I'm always in the flow of the game. My confidence is there, (last week's performance) just helps bring it out a little bit more."

Fisher has no reason to examine the odds. In his short professional career, they've hardly been in his favor.

During training camp he was a long shot to make the team.

Fighting for the same job he wanted were a pair of third-year veteran returnees in Rondell Mealey and Herbert Goodman, a pair of experienced newcomers in seventh-year veteran Ki-Jana Carter and second-year pro Jason Brookins, plus fourth-round draft pick Davenport.

From that group, it was the rookies who survived.

"He started at the bottom and worked his way up," Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "He was a player that didn't make many mistakes. He was a player that was always healthy -- that's a big part of making a football team.

"He proved himself as a pass blocker first, that he understood protection. That seems to be the difference between a rookie and a veteran, understanding protection, where he fits in."

Of course it's especially important when the quarterback needing protection is not only the leader of the offense, but a three-time NFL MVP.

Sherman also likes Fisher's sure hands out of the backfield, evidenced in his nine receptions for 48 yards this season.

If Fisher gets the start, it might be overly optimistic to assume that he'll average 5.4 yards a carry like he did in the second half against Chicago, but it won't be reason to panic.

"He's slowly grown into the position that he's in right now," Sherman said. "He's still a rookie, he's still a young kid, has a long way to go. But what we've asked him to do, he's done a great job."

No Place Like Home

If you think the Packers are happy to be facing the Vikings at home this weekend, you'd be right.

How could they not be?

The Packers are the only NFL team not to have lost a home game this season. They're 19-2 over the last decade in December home games -- best in the NFL.

They're powered by a quarterback who is 33-0 for his career in games when the temperature at kickoff is below 35 degrees, and weather reports suggest it could dip into single-digits Sunday night.

All-time at home on Sunday night, they're a perfect 5-0.

If you think the Minnesota Vikings would rather be home themselves, you'd be right again.

How could they not?

Never mind that Lambeau Field in winter is a tough setting for any visiting team, the Vikings haven't won at any opposing stadium since Nov. 23, 2000.

"We've had struggles in just about every arena for the last two years," Vikings head coach Mike Tice said. "(The Packers) are on top of the world and they're feeling good about themselves and we're trying to find answers."

That's hardly just a figure of speech.

Tice said he's gone so far as to change the team snack in hopes of ending the Vikings' road woes.

"We're trying to do whatever we can to get the guys to come out and start fast," he said. "We seem to go on the road and take quite a long time to get our engines going. For what reasons I have no idea, but we're going to try to figure that out. Hopefully we can figure that out by Sunday night."

New View

If you're not among the privileged few that will get to watch Sunday night's game in person, count yourself lucky that you'll at least be able to watch the game unlike anyone at Lambeau Field has done before.

Thursday, crews from ESPN readied Lambeau Field for SkyCam use.

Utilized in other ESPN Sunday night telecasts this season, SkyCam is a remote-controlled camera capable of moving 30 miles per hour from end line to end line and sideline to sideline on a series of wires above the playing field.

The camera is positioned behind the line of scrimmage during game action, so as not to interfere with the play, but is capable of following the action as it progresses.

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