What's the key matchup vs. Vikings?

Packers.com senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in Mike's Mid-Week Chat


Hey everybody, thanks for logging on. Let's go.

Comment From Ray N

What a tremendous tackle football game. Is it my imagination or is GB far more effective at "closing" games this year and much improved in Red Zone efficiency? Granted, closing this one out required a dramatic 75 yard, 1:13 two minute drill with its own Red Zone drama, but feels different this year, certainly relative to first five games of last year...

I'm sure the Packers would have loved to close it out with their defense on the fourth-and-1 stop they thought they had, but you win games with whatever it takes.

Comment From Tom

With a non-goal line situation, with the runner stopped, the runner puts the ball forward and then on his own brings it back (Elliott,) awarding the forward position of the ball isn't right. Do you agree?

I thought it was a highly questionable ruling, but I honestly don't know what the rule is. I always thought forward progress was giving the offense the yardage before the defense pushed them back.

Comment From D

As the Packers prepare for both Bradford and Keenum at QB, what are the biggest challenges each man presents to the D?

Bradford has the bigger arm as far the long throws, but Keenum has been pretty efficient with the short stuff to Rudolph and the backs. Either way, stop the run first and make the QB beat you.

Comment From Johnny

How worried should we be about Jordy's hamstring?

McCarthy said on Monday it's not a hamstring, but he didn't specify what it was. We'll see if Nelson is listed on the injury report later today.

Comment From Allan

Hi Mike! I can't help but wonder how different this game would be if Dalvin Cook were to play. Who becomes the strongest threat on the Vikings offense?

If Diggs is healthy, he's dangerous, but he was slowed by a groin injury Monday night. Thielen had 200-plus yards at Lambeau last December. But I think Rudolph is as big a threat as the other two.

Comment From Cory

Which defensive player on the Vikings do you see as the most important player to stop this week? Barr, Smith, and Griffen are all top notch talent.

Rhodes is another impact player, but the guy you have to stop is Griffen because he starts closest to the ball and can be a problem on the blind side.

Comment From Jason M.

In line with Tom's question about Zeke's first-down reach, didn't the same thing essentially happen earlier in the game with Cole Beasley's catch near the 1st down marker?

Yes, but I think the difference was Beasley wasn't in the act of being tackled or downed when he pulled the ball back. The ruling on Zeke, as far as I could tell, was that the tackle was in progress.

Comment From Max

If the NFL is a matchups league, how do the Vikings match up against the Packers? Is it a game of strength vs. strength?

I just came from McCarthy's press conference and he pointed out the Vikings are No. 1 in the league in third-down defense, and the Packers are No. 3 in third-down offense. Something's gotta give, right?

Comment From Nathan

I was amused to hear the TV commentators assuming Rodgers would score again before the Cowboys had even scored. Regardless of whom you're playing against, is there ever a situation for a team needing a TD to take a knee at the 1 to run out more clock?

I understand the discussion, but if you have a false start or, even worse, a holding penalty then the strategy could blow up in your face.

Comment From Oliver

With Atlanta having to go on the road against the Patriots, Broncos and Seahawks, do you think they'll be in the driver's seat for the 1st seed come december?

We're a long way from talking playoff seeding. This is a division game and a chance for the Packers to get to 2-1 on the road. That's what matters now.

Comment From KD

I just saw that the Browns are going to be starting yet another QB this week. Why pull the rookie at this point in the season? Might as well get him some more experience, it's not like putting another guy in there is going to get them to the playoffs.

Their head coach is 1-20 so far. He has to find a way to start winning games.

Comment From Russell M.

The duck, duck, goose was silly. I have a feeling we are heading towards a "Basketball" future. What was the league thinking?

I don't mind it. Let them have some fun. They have to do it quickly regardless because of the 40-second clock for the PAT.

Comment From Guest

Haven't been able to watch much of the Vikings this year, yet. With Dalvin Cook out, is McKinnon the "every down" back? I think i remember him as their "3rd down guy" in the past.

He looked the part Monday night in Chicago. McKinnon had a chance to seize the job last year and didn't, which is why they signed Murray and drafted Cook high. He looks to me like a guy determined to seize his second chance.

Comment From Tony C.

And there is controversy about whether the overhead view should have been used at all because not all NFL venues are equipped with overhead replay capabilities ...

It's not about the venue, it's about the broadcast. Yeah, it creates disparities from game to game, but if you have the angle, I think you have to use it, though I've heard from optical physics folks about the distortion an overhead view can provide if it's not lined up just right.

Comment From Joe

Earlier in the year you responded to a question of mine on how the outside of our defense will be based on how strong we are down the middle. How do you think they are doing?

I think the Packers' defensive line is playing well. Daniels next to Clark is a strong combo. Lowry and Dial have stood up pretty well vs. the run, too. Safety is the deepest position on the defense, but now the unit might have to adjust without Burnett, depending on his hamstring. That will be worth following this week.

Comment From Lori

Mike, did your reporter's cool get a little rattled by the intensity of the Dallas game?

Been though those countless times. I just focus on my job, which is to get the fourth-quarter story wrapped up and posted as close to the final gun as possible, and then hustle downstairs for the press conferences.

Comment From Randy

Big plays by the tight ends last week for the Pack. For those who were worried about Bennett, he is starting to shine. And I love his blocking. Might be the best part of his game, don't you think?

Bennett is an all-around tight end, which is why the Packers went out and got him. All three TEs made key catches last week. Rodgers has confidence in them all.

Comment From Abhi

Do you think Rodgers can repeat last weeks performance against Minnesota's better D?

New week, new challenge. You just try to score more points than the other team.

Comment From Mike

At this point I think our team MVP is Coach Campen.

He's done a whale of a job. The Packers have found more versatility in their linemen than anyone thought they had. It would be nice to get the starting unit together for the first time, though.

Comment From Matt W.

Mike in your WYMM you mentioned only 4 players touched the ball on the last drive. Crazy that none of them were named Jordy or Cobb.


Comment From Don H.

Do you dislike that ridiculous Helga horn as much as I do??

Yes. You can't block it out.

Comment From Jay

What type of weapon do the Packers have in Davante Adams? What exact traits does he possess that will equate to a big contract? I think we all see generally that he is approaching elite territory with the results he is achieving, but I have a hard time nailing down exactly how he does it. I have a lot of respect for his game and would love to know more detailed things to watch for the rest of the season of how he has become as great as he is.

His footwork and explosion off the line of scrimmage is the best trait to his game, in my opinion. When his wheels are healthy, he's tough to jam at the line, and he's shifty-quick in making that first move.

Comment From Jesse - San Francisco

Being from Minnesota, I feel the need to tell you it's Duck Duck Grey Duck

I was informed of that this morning.

Comment From Jeff

So the bogus roughing call enables the Cowboys to get a touchdown instead of a field goal. Meanwhile, the refs missed a helmet to helmet hit on Jone's touchdown and on Cobb near the sidelines. Can't we have full consistency?

Good luck with that.

Comment From Linda P.

Hey Mike, Where do you weigh in on the discussion of Aaron's greatness? I do not think there is or has been a QB with the entire package as he possesses. His recall and skill is unreal. Best ever IMO

I've never seen anyone do it better. He's a privilege to cover.

Comment From Guest

I know you're going to rail on me for this one--but Bennett's body language doesn't exude enjoyment/fun out there. It seems to be fading as his season passes on...

He's a different breed of cat. Don't read too much into it.

Comment From Tim J.

To Kneel or not to kneel. Do you think that the NFL players should be able to kneel?

I've said all along, dating back to last year, that if there's a rule to follow, the rule should be followed. There has been no rule to date. If the owners want to make a rule, it's their league.

Comment From Oliver

I feel like Blake Martinez is the biggest unsung hero on the defense. He is playing pro bowl football right now. Do you agree?

Martinez's progress from last year to this year has stood out. He's become an impactful run defender, and he's taking advantage of the work the guys in front of him are doing. I've seen him get off some tough blocks on film, too.

Comment From Erik

Not sure if this has been asked, but I can't figure out the logic behind going for two when it's 28-24... I know McCarthy didn't do that blindly. Any guesses? (Down 2 on the final drive if you take the one)

I answered this in Inbox on Monday. With the new 33-yard PAT, the thinking is you go up 6 and make them make the kick. I know it's still high percentage, but it's not the 20-yard gimme anymore. Also, if the Packers kick there to go up 5, the Cowboys are going to go for 2 after their TD to try to go up 3, so there was no guarantee of a field goal being able to win it on the last possession either way.

Comment From Russell M.

I think we are missing the point on the Elliot 1st down. Matthews shouldn't be running away celebrating, he should be knocking the ball loose. Leave no doubt.

I don't know if Matthews had a clear shot at it, but somebody needs to knock it loose, yeah. That's what McCarthy was harping on Monday.

Comment From Tom

Personal Foul on 50, worst call since Fail Mary?

Not at all, but it was a bad call. I've said many times before this safety stuff has to be reviewable or it's just too arbitrary.

Comment From Chris

Did the final hook and ladder play by Dallas give you as much heartburn as it did me?? C'mon guys, get the other guy on the ground.

Hawkins had Elliott boxed in by the sideline right away after the reception and then flailed at the tackle and missed, allowing him to get to the middle of the field and get running. Can't let that happen.

Comment From Joe

Evans received some very high marks last week, overall how do you think he has played this year? Are we getting our money's worth?

Given all the injuries up front, I think Evans' veteran presence on the line has been huge. He appears to be settling in better with this offense.

Comment From Dallas from Eau Claire

With Jordy & Cobb having large contracts (well deserved). Can the Packers afford to sign Adams to a large contract and have 3 players at 1 position making that much money?

We'll find out. I don't really worry about that stuff until the offseason.

Comment From Chris

I thought Bennett's comments about the scramble drill were enlightening. He made the comment that he's starting to get what it means to play with Rodgers, which is hugely positive. I think his impact will be only grow as the season progresses.

That's what I've been saying all along. This isn't a plug-n-play offense.

Comment From D

Is the season over for the Giants at 0-5?

Hard to see them turning that around. From 11-5 last year to 0-5 this year. Crazy league.

Comment From Jake M.

I read a lot of articles on ESPN.com, there has been talk of Cam Newton and Alex Smith being this year's MVP but no talk of Rodgers. Shouldn't he be in that mix with the way he has played?

If he keeps it up, he will be.

Comment From Matthew

I love it when Rodgers discusses strategy/tactics in post-game interviews. Do you think the coaches tell him to tone it down a bit, so to not reveal too many details to future opponents?

I don't think they're too worried about it, because everything he talks about is so specific to the moment and the matchup. His comments are eye-opening for me every time.

Comment From Neal W.

Hey Mike love your work, in your opinion what is the best way for the Packers to attack this Vikings defense?

With balance. Minnesota is tough against the run, and they want you to abandon it. Can't do that. They want their pass-rush and secondary to control the game.

Comment From Randy

How loud was the new stadium in Minnesota last year? Will that be a challenge for the offense?

No question. It was pretty loud last year. Not as loud as the Metrodome, as far as I could tell, but loud nonetheless. I'm curious to see how many GB fans get their hands on tickets.

Comment From Dean

Aaron Jones quickness and jump cut ability are very impressive and he doesn't slow down when he cuts. I also love his instincts to get north-south. His 40 time (4.49) is OK, does he play faster than that?

I think that's obvious. His number of breakaway runs in college speak to his abilities, no matter what his 40 time is/was.

Comment From Allan

How do you think Vic feels about recent TD celebrations?

I don't think he's mimicking them in his living room, if that's what you're asking.

Comment From Don H.

What's the impact of MIN being on a short week?? I tend to think that stuff gets too much hype. Players get ready whatever the circumstances and this is a bitter rivalry.

It's about physical recovery, and going from Monday night to a noon Sunday kickoff isn't easy. Practices are adjusted in terms of the physical contact, so it's just a different type of preparation.

Comment From Johnny

Feel like Burnett has been lost in the shuffle of players being talked about this year. So please talk about him, what are fans missing from his performance?

He's been playing everywhere -- inside LB, deep safety, slot corner. He takes on a lot of different duties, and if he's out, he'll be tough to replace.

Comment From D

What did you think of Trubisky's debut?

I can see why the Bears are excited. There's a lot of promise, but it's the hardest position in sports to play. He learned a huge rookie lesson with 2 minutes left Monday night. It's a process, but the Bears have reason for optimism.

Comment From Christopher

Any fire to the smoke of the Patrick Petersen jibba jabba?

No idea.

Comment From Mike T.

I think the mentality of referees allowing a play to "play out" is creating too many issues of the original call on the field. Double-edge sword with this one.

I was making that point after Week 2 in Atlanta. It's an issue, in my view.

Comment From Mike H.

I absolutely love Jeff Janis on special teams. His hit on the punt before the pick 6 was awesome.

Great punt, great tackle. A 59-yard punt normally gives a returner plenty of room to make something happen. Janis made a dynamite play there. It was Dallas' worst field position of the game, and then we all saw what happened.

OK, I have to head out to practice in a couple minutes, so I'll take a few more. As always, thanks for all the participation.

Comment From 54

What do you miss most about Vic?

Challenging his opinions, and I mean that as a friend and highly respected colleague.

Comment From Zack

Are we going to see Teddy Bridgewater in purple again?

It sounds like he might be back at practice as soon as next week. We'll see.

Comment From Joe

I have a feeling that the Pack is going to turn over Keenam at four times on Sunday. He has a pattern of up and down,doesn't he?

That's been the pattern so far. He looked great against TB and in the second half vs. Chicago, not so great at Pittsburgh and Detroit.

Comment From JeffQuerysMullet

Oh no. Did I miss the live chat?

Apparently not, but I've gotta run now. Take care folks. Talk to you again next week. Best, Mike

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