Starter Pack: Minnesota's no-name backs

A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Don't ask Clay Matthews or Julius Peppers to name the Vikings running backs they will face Thursday at Lambeau Field. Neither Packers linebacker could come up with the names Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata.

But they certainly know what the duo is capable of doing.

On Sunday against the Falcons, they combined for 213 of the Vikings' 241 rushing yards -- a total that led the NFL in Week 4.

"We haven't heard much as far as who their running backs are for years now, outside of Adrian Peterson," Matthews said. "But now they've got ... they've got that one guy who can run really hard, ran for over 100 yards. And the little guy, he was really quick, too."

The former would be McKinnon and the latter Asiata.

Peppers actually apologized for not knowing McKinnon's name, and instead referred to him by his uniform number.

"I’ve been pretty impressed with 31," Peppers said. "I'm sorry I don't even know [his name], but I definitely notice him on the field. He's made plays. They have some guys that can make plays, so we're on alert."

Matthews said he meant no disrespect that he didn't know their names.

"They put up some running yards last week, and that"s what I mean," he said. "You think with the drop-off of A.P., or that there would be a drop-off, but there really isn't. We're going to have our hands full, especially with what we put on film last week, this past weekend. They've got to be coming in here thinking that they're going to run it on us. It's just a great opportunity for us to showcase that that's not the case."

After allowing the Bears to rush for 235 yards last Sunday, the Packers slipped to 32nd (last) in the NFL in rushing defense.

In case you didn't know anything them either, the 5-foot-9, 208-pound McKinnon was a third-round pick this year from Georgia Southern, and Asiata is a third-year pro who has many carries this season (47) as he did in his first two seasons (three and 44). McKinnon rushed for 135 yards on 18 carries on Sunday, while Asiata had 78 yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns.

In case you missed it from ESPN.com:

Best of the rest: