On Sunday, the first-place Green Bay Packers are coming to town and all eyes, expectedly, will be on rookie quarterback Christian Ponder and expectations will be on him to lead the Minnesota Vikings to victory. Fans, even if it's not realistic, will be expecting the team's first-round pick to emerge and be ready now since a guy like Donovan McNabb was just benched for him. But it's an unrealistic expectation.
Not just because the Packers are really, really good and Aaron Rodgers seemingly can't do any wrong - no. It's unrealistic because the team still has Adrian Peterson, one of the, if not the best running backs in the NFL today. This is one game where the stats don't necessarily line up with what you should expect from the game, but follow along.
You should expect a good game out of Ponder, because the Packers have had a pretty bad pass defense thus far this season, and it's not likely to get better any time soon. Quarterbacks have been able to burn that secondary with regularity, so Ponder will be able to throw the ball, but when it comes to putting points on the board, the Vikings definitely need to defer to Peterson. If you put the ball in the hands of a rookie against the best team in the NFL, something is going to go wrong.
The Packers have only allowed a 100-yard rusher once this year, but their run defense isn't exactly tops in the league. Peterson should get the ball early and often and Ponder should be throwing only when the team feels confident. If they fail to do that, they probably won't stand much of a chance against the defending world champions.