When preparing to play any other running back, an opposing defense might talk about totally shutting him down. But against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the Packers have set a goal that is not nearly that lofty.
“We aren’t giving up 200 again,” Packers linebacker Clay Matthews told USA Today.
That’s the goal, and after a December in which Peterson played the Packers twice and gained 210 and 199 yards in those two games, it would be great news in Green Bay if they could start January by simply slowing Peterson down — forget about stopping him. If the Packers can stack the line of scrimmage enough to force Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder to pass, that’s their best path to victory.
“We want to take [Peterson] out of the mix. That’s definitely the game plan,” Matthews said. “If we can limit those carries and force Ponder to beat us, then that’s the game plan we’re going to play. We need to do a better job of stopping the run, and we will do that. And that will help us get after the quarterback.”
It says something about the kind of player Peterson is that the Packers think they’re going to have a good shot of beating the Vikings, if they can just hold him short of 200 yards.