There is nothing particularly shocking about the Vikings’ 13-7 lead over the Packers at halftime in Lambeau. The Packers are without their most important player, Aaron Rodgers, and it shows. The Vikes always had a chance in this game and they’re playing like they can feel it.
The Vikings haven’t played a beautiful game so far but they’ve done enough. Adrian Peterson has been the star, running for 72 yards and a TD on 14 carries. Christian Ponder hasn’t been great but he’s been good enough, throwing for 127 on 11-of-14 completions and avoiding turnovers (though truth be told he should’ve been picked off by Davon House).
The Vikings’ defensive effort has been solid so far, with Brian Robison and Xavier Rhodes standing out. Rhodes has been especially good matched up with James Jones. Rhodes knocked away what looked like a sure TD pass to Jones early in the game and had some more break-ups later. He also had a nice open field tackle on John Kuhn.
Audie Cole provided an early highlight when, on his first snap as the starting MLB, he sacked Scott Tolzien. Since then Audie has not looked great, missing some tackles.
Truth be told, the Vikings’ defensive effort probably has as much to do with Scott Tolzien’s inexperience as it does anything they are putting out there. Tolzien has made a couple nice throws but he’s looked bad at other times. He’s shown lack of pocket presence on some occasions and in the late half hurry-up he looked lost. The Packers will definitely be happy to have Aaron Rodgers back.
What can the Vikings do to finish off this game in the second half? Keep pressuring Tolzien. Keep handing it to Adrian. Keep hoping Christian Ponder doesn’t turn it over. The Vikings have a good chance to knock off the Packers and make life very difficult in the playoff chase for their arch rivals.