A Vikings' victory would be emotional lift

Fed up with hard work resulting in heartache, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe can't deny the emotional lift an upset over undefeated Green Bay would give his 2-6 Vikings.

"It would be like our progress is real," Shiancoe said. "That's what creates confidence."

Minnesota's sluggish season would perk up if it finds a way to thwart the Packers' torrid offense under quarterback Aaron Rodgers - something eight teams have tried and failed.

With playoff hopes slim, the Vikings aim to regain respectability with a few wins while assessing how much roster rebuilding is necessary for the future.

But the Vikings still can cling to encouragement in several areas entering tonight's game, despite being overmatched as the league's top-rated quarterback faces the league's 30th-ranked pass defense.


Save a few lapses, the Vikings played the Packers pretty evenly in a 33-27 loss in the Metrodome on Oct. 23.

Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder has injected some life into the offense with his third-down passing success, widening rushing lanes for Adrian Peterson in the process.

The defense sacked Rodgers four times and forced three consecutive three-and-outs in the last meeting.

And the bye week helped Minnesota heal. Right guard Anthony Herrera (knee) is the only player on the 53-man roster missing the game because of injury.

The Vikings' chances for a major upset might not get much better this season.

"The guys are anxious to play again," coach Leslie Frazier said. "And the fact that it's Green Bay, the fact they are 8-0 just adds a little more to it, then you add Monday night along with that, those are ingredients to really get guys ready to play."

At least one Viking prefers to downplay the matchup. Defensive end Brian Robison calls it "another game," acknowledging the Vikings must focus on playing a complete game above the storied rivalry with Green Bay.

"Yeah, they are undefeated and everything else, but the fact of the matter is it's not going to launch us into the playoffs if we beat Green Bay," Robison said. "We know that when we play our best football, we can play with anyone in the league. If anything, (beating Green Bay) would just finally be able to put everything together."


The last time the Vikings visited Lambeau, they were one step away from stealing a victory - literally. Officials ruled wide receiver Percy Harvin had one foot out of bounds after catching what would have been an acrobatic 35-yard score in the back of the end zone in the final minutes of a 28-24 game. The Vikings eventually turned the ball over on downs, marking the first of three straight Packers victories over Minnesota.

Green Bay's 31-3 win last November symbolized the end for coach Brad Childress, who was fired the next day. Even the Vikings' traditionally stout run defense has struggled against the Packers, allowing James Starks to rush for 55 yards in the final minutes of Green Bay's Oct. 23 win.

The Vikings rank fifth in the league at 94.4 rushing yards per game allowed, a reputation they must uphold to have a chance tonight.

Ponder should have his chances, too. The Packers allow 299.6 passing yards per game, 31st in the NFL.

"Our passing game is making (teams) back up a little bit," Shiancoe said.

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