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Updated: December 31st, 2012 3:06pm
Notebook: Packers employed different strategy against Adrian Peterson

Notebook: Packers employed different strategy against Adrian Peterson

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson rushed for 210 yards on 21 carries in the Minnesota Vikings' loss on Dec. 2 at Green Bay and then went for 199 yards on 34 carries in Sunday's victory over the Packers.

While the yardage totals were similar, the way Peterson accumulated the yards was not. He averaged 10 yards a carry at Lambeau Field and had a long run of 82 yards on a play that went for a touchdown.

On Sunday, Peterson averaged 5.9 yards each time he touched the ball and his longest run went for 28 yards. While Peterson still got his yards, the Packers were determined to make it tougher on him.

"They were a lot more physical in that game than they had been before," Vikings fullback Jerome Felton said Monday. "I think they were trying to box everything and keep it in the middle. I just remember thinking, 'Man, they're coming downhill.' But I think we're just such a physical team that it wears on people. So he didn't have the 80-yard run. And he still had 200 yards rushing.

"That just says a lot about the offensive line and how they brought it (Sunday). And Adrian. And the receivers' blocking. Everybody just played."

The Packers' strategy included bringing a safety toward the line of scrimmage as if he was being sent on a run blitz.

"I mean they were running him from like 20 (yards) deep," Felton said. "I think that kind of surprised us a little bit. Adrian made a play, made him miss. Toby (Gerhart) did the same thing. So we knew they were going to play, they were going to come and be physical. They wanted that win. But luckily we got it."

The Vikings will now wait to see what type of adjustments the Packers make on defense for Saturday's playoff game. It will be the third meeting of the season between the teams.

"I'm sure they'll come up with another wrinkle when we pay them again," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "But to our offensive line's credit, to our coaches (credit), I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the coaches, they came up with a great game plan in all three areas. That's a very, very good football team that we beat."

You again?

The Vikings will face the Packers for the third time in just over a month on Saturday.

That means there really won't be many surprises from either side.

"We'll look at it as hard as we can to see if there is anything we can do differently to help us," Frazier said. "And how we can improve across the board as a team. But we're so familiar with one another. (Playing) three times in the last six weeks, there aren't a whole lot of new things you can do. But you can try to improve on what you have been doing. And that's what we'll try to get done."

Needs improvement

The Vikings had a major breakdown in coverage in the third quarter of Sunday's game when a wide open Greg Jennings caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to pull the Packers to within three points.

Frazier said it wasn't so much a communication issue as it was a matter of not covering Jennings.

"We knew what we were supposed to get done, we just didn't get it done," he said. "For whatever reason we turned a guy loose in a coverage and you really don't want to see that happen. It's something we will have to get corrected. But it wasn't so much the communication, it's we didn't execute as well."

Frazier acknowledged that linebacker Erin Henderson should have stayed with Jennings. "It's something that we will have to work on when we come back," Frazier said.

Preparing for the no-huddle

The Packers have attempted to employ the no-huddle offense on a consistent basis late in the season and that likely will be the case again Saturday.

"(Rodgers) will definitely want to do that," Frazier said. "When we were there in our previous meeting in Lambeau, that's what they did. They came out in no huddle and tried to get the tempo to their liking.

"So it's something we will have to be ready for and adjust to. They did a good job with the hard counts up there. So we will have to be ready to handle that as well. We expect them to try to get the tempo where they want it at their home field."

Quick hits

Vikings players are normally off on Tuesdays but with this week's game on Saturday, the team will return to work and practice on New Year's Day.

The National Weather Service is calling for mostly cloudy skies and a low around 14 degrees on Saturday night in Green Bay. Frazier did not say whether the Vikings will practice outdoors at all this week. "I'm not sure," he said. "We'll talk it through and figure out what we think is best so we can get quality work, whether it's outside or here. We'll talk that through some." The Vikings outdoor practice fields do not appear to be plowed at this point but that could change.

The Vikings are 0-5 in games played outdoors this season. The roof at Lucas Oil Stadium was open when the Vikings lost to the Colts in Week 2 and the roof at Reliant Stadium in Houston was closed when the Vikings won in Week 16. 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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