GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts at halftime from here at Lambeau Field:
The Green Bay Packers sliced through the Minnesota Vikings defense on their opening drive, but otherwise have spent much of this game on the ropes. They've lost two key players to injury, receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and right tackle T.J. Lang (ankle), and will have to come up with a defensive stop to start the third quarter to prevent the Vikings from extending their lead.
The Vikings offense isn't really lighting it up, but it has done enough to hold a halftime advantage. A 71-yard drive in the second quarter ended with Christian Ponder's 7-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph. The other score came on Adrian Peterson's career-long 82-yard run. Other than that one drive and Peterson's run, the Vikings have managed 25 yards of offense.
Four Packers players had a chance to tackle Peterson on the run, and it's worth noting that rookie cornerback Casey Hayward couldn't catch him in the open field, either. It was Peterson's fourth run of at least 40 yards this season, and he has 126 yards at halftime.
The Packers have used undrafted rookie Don Barclay for two series at right tackle after Lang suffered his injury. Even before that, however, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had taken about a half-dozen hits, several of them of the brutal variety. Rodgers hasn't been sacked, but sometimes those hits have the same affect.
One of those hits could prove to be a big game-changer. Officials wiped out Jared Allen's interception of Rodgers, which he returned to the Packers' 16-yard line, because of defensive end Everson Griffen's hit on Rodgers after the throw. The penalty was called roughing the passer, but former NFL officiating guru Mike Pereira tweeted Griffen's hit was neither late nor to the head.
We'll see what the second half brings. A Vikings victory would give them a 7-5 record and the early tiebreak edge over the Packers in the NFC North.