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Pick 6 Extra: Prepping for the Packers

The Monday Morning Mailbag and the Pick 6 appear every week on to answer fan questions. But even with those two pieces of content, there are still many more great questions from Vikings fans that deserve attention. Enter: Pick 6 Extra.

After one of the worst teams in the NFL beating the Packers, do you think we have a great shot at beating the Packers and remaining undefeated at home?

-- Dustin Klug


**The Vikings chances of defeating Green Bay on Sunday and remaining undefeated at home have nothing to do with the Packers losing to the Lions on Sunday. The Vikings are playing well right now and, when they play to their capabilities, the Vikings can compete with any team in the NFL, no matter where or when the game is played. There is a lot of football to be played and where you are now means nothing, but the mindset for the Vikings must now change because they are in first place, which means they are the hunted and they will get the opposition's best shot every week.

How do you feel team discipline will factor in against the Packers this week? I'm referring to the great job the Vikings have done on having low penalties and being aware of Aaron Roger's ability to draw offside penalties on hard counts and catching the defense with 12 men on the field when substituting players. Rogers seems to do this week in and week out.

-- Charles

Discipline will factor into Sunday's game quite a bit. There's no question Rodgers is as good as it gets at drawing defenders offsides and then using the "free play" to take shots down the field they might not otherwise take. But discipline can also take its form in players not trying to do too much. Often times in big games or in clutch moments, players will lose their technique because they lose focus on the small picture in pursuit of a big play. When coach Zimmer talks about wanting his team to play with discipline, I think he's referring to playing within the scheme rather than freelancing to make big plays as much as he's talking about not committing penalties. Sunday's game against Green Bay is a big game – 1st place is on the line. It will be important for the Vikings to remain disciplined, play within their scheme and take it one play at a time.

Do you think Antone Exum's ball skills are going to get him some reps next to Harrison Smith with Andrew Sendejo struggling to play the deep ball?

-- Gerard


**Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer feels no obligation to play anyone, which means he's going to play the players he feels give his team the best chance to win. Competition determines who plays. My sense is Sendejo will remain the starter for now because he does a lot of things right. Yes, it appeared he was beat on a couple of long pass plays in Oakland, but he also did a lot of things right and he's a starter on a defense that is the No 1-rated scoring defense in the NFL. Others will continue to get reps and looks in practice, and whoever practices and plays the best will see the most playing time.

I'm a longtime football fan and know the rules fairly well, but can you explain intentional grounding to me? They say "spot foul and loss of down" but no down is lost. If it happens on 1st down, the next down is still 2nd down. Where is the loss of down?

-- Brian Nock

This is a good question. Generally, a team has two options when a penalty is called against its opponent. They can take the penalty, which means the yardage will be enforced and the down will be replayed. For example, a holding penalty against an offensive lineman on a 2nd down passing play would be a 10-yard penalty and then a replay of 2nd down. The second option is to decline the penalty, which means the play result stands. In that same example, a declined holding penalty on an offensive lineman on a 2nd down pass play that is incomplete would result in no yardage penalty and 3rd down. With intentional grounding, though, both the yardage and the down part of the penalties are enforced. When a QB is called for intentional grounding and the opposing teams accepts the penalty, the ball is spotted at the point of the infraction (loss of yardage) AND the down counts. That's where the "loss of down" comes in. When the yardage is enforced and the down progresses, it's called a spot foul and loss of down.

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