Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson tries to stay in bounds after
catching a pass in front of Philadelphia Eagles' Colt
Anderson (30) during the first half of an NFL football game
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY — On
a team ravaged by injuries, Jordy Nelson has been a rock for the
Not that the
receiver known for his tip-toe catches and sideline tight-roping
acts is ever standing still. Nelson is doing his part to keep an
offense going without injured starters Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb
and Jermichael Finley.
to play the game the same with or without those guys," Nelson
said. "I'm going to run my route to the best of my ability
and try to get open. It doesn't matter who's throwing it or who
else is out there."
With so many
injuries, the Packers (5-5) operate with a constant "next man
up" philosophy. Scott Tolzien has been the named the starter
for Sunday's critical game against the Minnesota Vikings with
Rodgers (left collarbone) still hurt.
The earliest Cobb
(leg) could return from injured reserve for a game is in
mid-December. Tight end Finley is done for the year with a neck
injury. Besides Cobb, fellow receiver James Jones also missed two
games with a knee injury.
Nelson as the most the productive player out of Green Bay's
vaunted quartet of receiving targets for Rodgers. He's seventh in
the league in receiving yards (889), with seven touchdowns on 57
And he's remained
productive with Tolzien, a former practice squad player, running
the offense. On Sunday, Nelson caught eight passes for 117 yards
in the 27-13 loss to the Giants.
It's the result
of Nelson's preparation, and how he has put in extra time with all
the quarterbacks, receivers coach Edgar Bennett said Thursday.
admire about Jordy Nelson's growth here of late, the last year or
so, is his leadership," coach Mike McCarthy said this week.
"He's exerted himself more. He's a great representative of
what a professional football player is. ... He does it on the
field, off the field."
Eagles' Brandon Boykin intercepts a pass in front of Green
Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson (87) during the first half of an
NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
defenses have been putting more emphasis of late on stopping
rookie running back Eddie Lacy, whose 645 yards over the last
seven games leads the NFL in that span. Rodgers would make
opponents pay dearly if they stuffed the box.
Tolzien has had
success with the deep ball, but has thrown five interceptions over
the last two weeks, putting the Packers through midseason growing
pains at a time they need to get moving in the playoff chase. A
three-game skid has dropped them to third in the NFC North, a game
behind Chicago and Detroit.
Nelson would like
nothing better than to make a defensive back pay in single
coverage while teams try to stop the run.
"But I think
we can still do it, and I think if they do that, the play-action
game will be there for us like it was last week," Nelson
said. "We just need to continue to make more plays and
eliminate some more mistakes."
who replaced Cobb, has remained productive, too, the last couple
weeks, with 14 catches for 203 yards. He has 29 catches for 453
yards on the season.
playmaker, man. He's showed it on the practice field a lot of
times that you guys don't get to see," Jones said. "But
lately, he's had opportunities in the games. I mean he's a
And learning from
one of the best in the league in Nelson.
NOTES: LB Clay
Matthews, working with smaller cast to protect his injured right
thumb, said having his four other fingers free now is helping, and
that he was "definitely getting better." Matthews was
credited with a sack last week, his first since getting hurt Oct.
6 against the Lions. ... Rodgers did not participate in Thursday's
practice. ... CB Sam Shields (hamstring) missed another practice,
and McCarthy thought Shields might have a "50-50" chance
of playing Sunday. ... CB Micah Hyde (groin) was a new addition to
the injury report. ... RT Don Barclay (knee) and LB Nick Perry
(foot/ankle) also missed practice. Both players missed last week's
game against the Giants.
in line to join select company for Packers
GREEN BAY —
Quarterback Scott Tolzien could join select company on Sunday,
assuming he starts for the Packers against the Minnesota Vikings.
become the first Green Bay quarterback other than Brett Favre or
Aaron Rodgers to start back-to-back games since Don Majkowski
started the first three games of the 1992 season.
McCarthy has named Tolzien, a former practice squad player, the
starter for Sunday's game. Rodgers, sidelined with a collarbone
injury, has said he might be able to play if he practices Friday.
Rodgers, who has
missed the last two games, hasn't practiced this week. He has
otherwise had a durable nine-year career in Green Bay, following
the equally dependable Favre.
situation has been less stable for the rest of the NFC North.
According to STATS, the Lions have had 18 different quarterbacks
start consecutive games since 1992, while the Bears and the
Vikings have each had 21.
The Packers have
lost three straight since Rodgers got hurt Nov. 4 during the first
series of a 27-20 loss to Chicago.
"All of us
want him playing. But at the same time, you don't make
excuses," Tolzien said this week. "It's what we have in
the locker room and you make the most of it, plain and simple, and
you go from there."
says he's playing against Green Bay
Minn. — Adrian Peterson's injured groin has robbed him of some
the explosiveness that makes him the best running back in the
league, and the Minnesota Vikings have been all but eliminated in
the playoff picture with six games to go.
As long as
there's even a sliver of a chance for the Vikings (2-8) to turn
things around, Peterson isn't giving even a moment's thought to
taking a seat. Peterson said he plans to play on Sunday against
the Green Bay Packers and is spending this week doing whatever it
takes to get as close to 100 percent as he can for the game.
Peterson said he
didn't think his injury was that severe, and that with a little
rest this week he would be good to go by game time. Given that the
Vikings are buried in the NFC North, Peterson was asked what he
would do if coach Leslie Frazier and head athletic trainer Eric
Sugarman came to him to recommend he sit out a week.
"I'd look at
them crazy," Peterson said Thursday. "I'd be like,
'Well, I know my body and I'm not going to do anything to hurt
myself. Just trust me.'"
The Vikings also
expect to get receiver Greg Jennings back after he was a scratch
on Sunday against Seattle with a sore Achilles tendon. Jennings
returned to practice Thursday and said he would definitely play
against his former team at Lambeau Field.
"The way it
felt, it was definitely concerning," Jennings said. "I
think we took the proper precautions to wait it out and see how we
felt. The training staff did an awesome job and it's all good
There is no
arguing that Peterson's body has held him back the last few weeks.
He's topped 100 yards only once in the last six games and said he
knew early in the loss to Seattle that his groin wouldn't let him
hit the extra gear that separates him for most running backs. That
much was apparent on an early outside run when Peterson couldn't
get the burst that he normally has to blow through the secondary.
frustrating. It was just disappointing," Peterson said.
"The main thing was to be out there helping my team. I was
out there putting my best foot forward. But there were a couple of
plays where I was like, 'Wow, if I had that explosion, it would be
a different turnout.'"
with 65 yards on 21 carries in the 41-20 loss. But he's not giving
up on himself or the Vikings season. Minnesota has not been
mathematically eliminated yet, and the ever-optimistic Peterson is
"In my eyes,
I don't know how you all think, but I still think we've got a
chance," Peterson told the assembled media. "Call me
crazy. But I still feel like we have an opportunity. That's the
way I'm going to approach this week and the rest of the
Peterson said he
likes the competitiveness that his teammates have shown even
during the tough times, which is what helps him separate this
season from 2011, when the listless Vikings went 3-13.
faith in the guys in this locker room," Peterson said.
"When I look in these guys' eyes, when I'm on the field with
them, they're playing their hearts out. They're out there
competing. I don't see guys quitting."
Frazier is hoping
that belief is contagious.
for more guys to feel that way and just fight as hard as we can
and just get a win this week and try to build on that,"
Frazier said. "But if you don't have any hope, it can be
difficult, especially if things aren't going right early. I hope
some of that rubs off on the rest of the team."
watched the New York Giants rebound from an 0-6 start to get back
in the mix in the muddled NFC East. So until the Vikings are
officially eliminated from contention, Peterson is staying
positive. It may be incredibly unlikely, but he's hearing none of
"Not to look
at the end of the tunnel but finishing 8-8, who knows what could
happen?" Peterson said. "Six more weeks a lot of things
can happen. We've just got to control things that we can control
and that's trying to go down to Green Bay this week and get a
NOTES: LB Erin
Henderson missed practice on Thursday for personal reasons.
Frazier seemed doubtful that Henderson will be available against
the Packers. If he can't play, Audie Cole would start in the
middle. ... C John Sullivan (concussion) did not practice. The
Vikings were hopeful he'd pass his concussion tests and be cleared
for practice on Friday. If not, Joe Berger will start.