I've always had this anxiety when the Packers have played in the Humpty Dump of Minnesota in the past. Mostly because the Vikings had actual talent on their roster. As I settled in to watch today's game I realized I have nothing to fear. This is not the Vikings of the past that had talent but no organization. This team has organization in spades, but no talent. This should be fun.
I've invited my Dad and Mom down to watch the game today. Dad's been a half-hearted Vikings fan for a long time. He doesn't love 'em, he actually kinda hates 'em, but he watches all their games. Mom isn't partial to either team. But she is highly likely to laugh happily after Favre makes a play and then dances around like a little boy on Christmas morning.
Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger will be announcing today's games. Hopefully they won't spend a lot of time showing the guys in the booth because Baldinger looks insane. His eyes seem like they're staring right through the camera, through the satellite, through my screen and into my soul. Albert seems okay though.
14:42 - The Vikings are starting two rookies in the secondary with Smoot out of town. Cedric Griffin at corner and Greg Blue as the strong safety. They also have the league leading run defense. I'm no coach but I might try chucking it up a couple times today.
13:44 - Both teams start off with 3 and outs. Puntfest 2006 is on!
7:15 - Ahman Green bursts up the middle for what looks like a first down. We should have 1st and goal from the 1 or so. But instead the refs mark the ball back a good 2 feet and we now have 3rd and inches. We predictably get stuffed for a loss on the next play. That was a terrible spot. I'm kinda happy we didn't challenge it though, that would be sending a bad message to the team. "Look fellas, you were lucky to get down there so I'm not giving up a foot." Rayner Figgie. GREEN BAY 3 - MINNESOTA 0.
6:29 - Brady Poppinga bursts through and crushed Vikes QB Brad Johnson. The ball goes flying and Corey Williams falls down on it. Let's take a moment to feel for the football here, he just had Corey land on him. Okay, now we're good to go. We have the ball on the 22 of Minnesota!
5:34 - Ahman has two nice runs for 19 yards total. We're on the Vikings 6 and it's 1st and goal.
5:00 - Third and 1. This is a big play. Two field goals doesn't send much of a message.
3:50 - Noah Freaking Herron gets nailed for a loss. Third down coming up. Please don't let Noah run the ball anymore!
3:34 - See? He's much better as a receiver out of the backfield. Herron catches a little swing pass from Favre and dives into the end zone for the TD. GREEN BAY 10 - MINNESOTA 0.
Well this is going nicely.
2:37 - In a sign of solidarity with the defense, Travis Taylor makes a catch on 3rd and 8 and picks up 7 yards and then falls down 1 yard short. Nice to see them giving up so quickly. Brad "Chili" Childress is nonplussed (surprise!) and goes for it on 4th and 1 from his own 39. This is either a brilliant move to fire up his team or the obvious signs of desperation. They get the first down but man, talk about sending your team the wrong message.
14:52 - The Vikings string together a drive somehow. It's not much of one really, they had 2 first downs and then Al Harris decides he's in zone and the safety doesn't agree with him and we give up yet another blown coverage TD. 40 yards from Brad Johnson to Billy McMullen. Yeesh. That was the exact same play we had against Buffalo last week. Hey Kurt Schottenheimer, Fuck you! GREEN BAY 10 - MINNESOTA 7.
11:34 - Quote from my dad, apropos of nothing. "When it comes to bacon and eggs the chicken is involved but the pig is committed."
7:50 - Another ugly Minnesota drive. How do these guys ever score? I mean, other than blown coverages? Billy McMullen officially changes his name to Johnny on the Spot with a fumble recovery in the end zone. GREEN BAY 10 - MINNESOTA 14.
4:20 - Hopefully nothing much has happened. I'm eating lunch here so you're kind of on your own.
:49 - Driver splits the seam on a little 10 yard pass and goes for 82 yards. I'm wearing his jersey today despite my non-WR approved body and he's got 150 yards and a game breaking TD so far. I should wear it more often I guess. GREEN BAY 17 - MINNESOTA 14.
14:46 - Artose Pinner (or something) makes an illegal block in the back and prevents a Kick Return TD for the Vikes. Nice to see Mr. Pinner got the check we sent him this week.
12:19 - In what surely was not an indication that the block in the back was a weak call the Packers get flagged 3 times on one penalty on their kick return. Very subtle Mr. Referee. Very subtle.
9:09 - AJ Hawk splits two blockers and sacks Brad Johnson. The defense is really getting after old Garden Hose Johnson today. It's got to be rough. He has no arm strength and an incredibly expensive O-line that doesn't bother to protect him too.
The graphic lets us know that AJ's favorite movie is Top Gun. Remind me not to play beach volleyball with AJ.
5:30 - Greg Jennings (he lives!) makes a big catch for a third down, and then laterals to Donald Driver as he's being tackled. Driver, being the finest receiver of all time, runs 30 yards with it. Are we sure Jennings is a rookie? He didn't change his name did he? Like maybe he was Amani Toomer (it's not a toomah!) or something?
4:40 - Rayner from 24. He hits the left upright but the ball is kind enough to go through anyway. GREEN BAY 20 - MINNESOTA 14.
14:49 - Mewelde Moore muffs the punt and it gets kicked out of the back of the end zone. The Back Judge rules it as a safety but then realizes it was just a touchback. I love safeties. They make that little pyramid signal with their hands and it's all depressing for the other team! I love it! But alas, it was not to be. Alas.
13:34 - Yet another three and out for the Vikings. My Dad is having a hard time paying attention them. He just let my wife know that if you put cucumbers in your arm pits it will get rid of a hangover. My dad's a bit of a health nut and loves the "around the house" medical marvels available to us. You know what I have around my house for my hangovers Dad? Aspirin.
11:06 - AJ and Nick Barnett nearly take Garden Hose Johnson's head off on a sack. The Vikings suck at picking up blitzes.
7:46 - Was that a punt? No? Just a deep pass from Garden Hose? Gotcha. 35 yard rainbow from Johnson gets intercepted by Patrick Dendy who was 5 yards off the receiver. Johnson has no zip on the ball. That thing looked like a punt with the high arc and soft landing. By the way, exactly one second before this play my Dad said "Johnson doesn't have it, I'd put in the rookie and let him make his mistakes."
3:41 - Ruvell Martin, who hasn't done much to warrant commentary in this space, makes a great catch after getting rocked by a linebacker over the middle. That'll be on the lame "jacked up" sequence on ESPN or the lamer "booyaka" segment on NFL network tonight.
2:14 - On the Vikings 15 or so Favre has a couple options but wisely throws it away on third down. Rayner nails the figgie. Smart play by our QB ices the game. GREEN BAY 23 - MINNESOTA 14.
1:40 - Garden Hose is scrambling and AJ has a bead on him. He stops and covers the running back instead and prevents a completion. The guy knows what's going on out there.
1:06 - The Vikings kick a field goal. They have no timeouts. It all comes down to the onsides kick. GREEN BAY 23 - MINNESOTA 17.
1:02 - Artose Pinner definitely got the check. He was offsides on the onsides kick and negated the Vikings recovery of the ball. Longwell puts the next one out of bounds. Game over. My dad decides to try out as a professional game announcer and says that Favre looks "Exuberating." See? I don't just rip on announcers.
This was a beautiful win. The Packers looked vastly superior to the Vikings across the board. Other than the gift TD we handed them they could only manage 7 points against our defense. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and listen to all the Vikings whiners on KFAN.