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Vikings are sinking and stinking

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THOMAS J. MILLER
November 12, 2007
— If ever there was a time when the value of having Brett Favre as the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback was evident, it was Sunday.

Favre dissected the Minnesota Viking defense for 351 yards and three touchdown passes in the Packers’ 34-0 romp at Lambeau Field.


The desperate Vikings, who needed to win Sunday to stay in the North Division race, started Brooks Bollinger at quarterback.


Talk about Secretariat vs. Mr. Ed.


Bollinger is one of those former University of Wisconsin quarterbacks who somehow stay in the NFL for years. Randy Wright, Bollinger and Jim Sorgi all have collected paychecks from NFL teams after less-than-All-America college careers.


Bollinger started Sunday after the Vikings’ other quarterbacks—Tarvaris Jackson and Kelly Holcomb—were knocked silly the past two weeks.


Bollinger left the field under his own power Sunday, but that was about all he could point to as a positive.


While Favre threw under, over and in between Viking defenders—was Darren Sharper on the field?—Bollinger was throwing short incompletion after short incompletion.


Through three quarters, Bollinger was 6 of 13 for 52 yards. Those yards included a 35-yard bomb to former Packer Robert Ferguson in the final two minutes of the third quarter.


Bollinger finished with 176 yards, thanks to a 50-yard screen pass in garbage time that Packer cornerback Al Harris was still muttering about after the game.


The Packer defense was primed to stop Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, who torched San Diego last week for an NFL-record 296 yards.


Peterson was a factor Sunday, but nothing that the Packers couldn’t handle. The rookie finished with 45 yards on 11 carries and an injured knee suffered in the third quarter.


The Packer defensive unit to a man said it did nothing differently to contain Peterson, who came into the game with 1,036 yards and a 6.6 per-carry average.


“I never go, ‘Holy cow,’’’ linebacker Nick Barnett said about watching Peterson on film. “I always look forward to the challenge of proving myself. He’s a great runner, but we carried out our responsibilities.”


The defense did not have much to worry about with Favre and the offense dominating the game.


Ryan Grant, who wasn’t even on the team until September, rushed for 119 yards in 25 carries against a Minnesota defense that had allowed an average of 70 a game.


With Grant slashing the Vikings consistently in the first half, Favre picked away as he has all season.


Ten players caught passes, and the Packers controlled the ball for 40 of the 60 minutes.


The win put the Packers at 8-1 on the season, with a home game against Carolina next Sunday.


Carolina likely will start Vinny Testaverde, who makes Favre look like a young pup.


There is no reason to think the Packers can’t do to the Panthers what they did to the Vikings in the team’s first shutout since 2002. It was the first time in the 94-game history between the two teams that the Packers had blanked the Vikings.


Packer fans witnessed the Viking ship sailing over the waterfall for this season. After the teams had played 10 straight regular-season games decided by seven points or less, there were many smiles on the sideline as the game wound down.


Aaron Kampman dismissed the question about whether this had been a “perfect game.”


“We’ll find some things,” he said.


But the list won’t be long.


“I soaked this one in,” Kampman said. “Sun shining, a nice crisp afternoon. That’s the way it should be.”


Tom Miller is a sports writer and page designer for The Janesville Gazette.



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