Sadly today I’m at work so it’s a news free day (except for these 2 links from Star Tribune on Peterson and Harvin). Instead here’s the next in my series of Top 10 Moments from 2009, and a certain win against a certain team…
Despite buzzing from a miraculous week 3 win over the 49ers, the Vikings approached their Monday Night Football matchup at home against the P*ckers with a certain level of caution. The game against San Francisco was one we should have steamrolled, but instead we were left to rely on a wonder throw from Favre. Our secondary didn’t seem able to stop big plays, and now we came up against our biggest rivals, on the shoulders of their former hero.
The story of Favre against his former team was dominating all the headlines, and with the pressure weighing down on him, we were left to wonder whether he could handle it. The man had something of a reputation for throwing picks in big games, and with our secondary looking vulnerable against an emerging Aaron Rodgers, it was all too easy to go into a downward spiral of doubt about our chances.
We needn’t have worried:
That night, the Metrodome witnessed a classic contest featuring two teams who love nothing more than to kick the crap out of each other. Early on we stamped our authority on the P*ckers O-Line, with Jared Allen and Ray Edwards double teaming Rodgers, allowing our Edwards to then jump on the loose ball. On the ensuing drive, Berrian caught a peach of a pass from Brett for a big gain, before Ol’ Shanky held onto Favre’s first touchdown against his former team.
In response however, Rodgers ripped apart our secondary, much to our horror, as Jermichael Finley was able to amble into the end zone to tie the score. The P*ckers then got the ball back, and luck seemed to be swinging their way when a loose ball which could easily have been a pick for us feel into the arms of Greg Jennings. But the P*cks rode their luck a little too much and Rodgers was picked off by Antoine Winfield, after which Favre was able to connect with Sidney Rice for his second TD of the game to make it 14-7.
We then got another sack on Rodgers, again Allen and Edwards were involved, and looked to be in a great position to dominate the game. But as we all know, P*ckers matchups are never that simple. Peterson, ran wide out to his left, into a sea of P*ckers, and rookie Clay Matthews was able to strip the ball out of his hands, and run the ball in for a touchdown to tie the game up. The momentum seemed to be swining away from us again.
Only Favre wasn’t going to let that happen. He connected with Percy Harvin for a 40 yard gain, which would allow Peterson to run the ball in, making it 21-14 at the end of an action packed first half.
And we rode that momentum into the third quarter, Favre having all the time in the world to connect with Jeff Dugan of all people, before giving Bernard Berrian his first touchdown of the season, and Favre’s third against his old team. The P*ckers, up against it, then made a bold move to go for it on 4th and goal. But Lee was unable to hold onto Rodgers pass in the end zone, keeping the score at 28-14.
Then to make matters worse, Jared Allen was able to sack Rodgers yet again, and after review we got awarded a safety for the tackle, giving us a 16 point lead. It was at this point that we took our foot off the gas a little, which did make for some squeaky bum moments. Our secondary was suspect again as Jordy Nelson picked up a touchdown off Rodgers, and they then picked up a field goal with 55 remaining on the clock to set up a crucial onside kick which could give them the chance to drive again and level the score. But Sidney Rice was equal to the challenge, and jumped to catch the ball in mid-air, meaning we could run down the clock and chalk up a big win, putting us at 4-0.
It was a massive win for the team, our first proper test of the season. It was massive for the fans, because it’s always a pleasure kicking some P*cker a$$, and it was massive for OUR #4 who now only had one more hurdle to leap, when he returned to Lambeau a few weeks later…