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Vikings Defense Prepares for 'Elite' Test in Aaron Rodgers

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings held the Raiders scoreless in the second half and more than 20 points below what Oakland had scored in its previous three games.

The 30-14 win sent Minnesota to the tops in the NFL at points allowed per game (17.1), which could change depending on the Monday Night Football game between Houston and Cincinnati.

The Vikings (7-2) have won five in a row and host the Packers (6-3), who have dropped three straight, at 3:25 p.m. (CT) Sunday.

Minnesota ranks eighth in the NFL in pass defense (228 yards allowed per game) and ninth in total defense (336.6 yards allowed per game).

They figure to be challenged by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who ranks fifth in the NFL with a passer rating of 103.4.

"He's a very good quarterback, elite quarterback and in this league, you want to play against the best," defensive tackle Linval Joseph said. "That's how you get recognition, how you come over the hump, so to come out and have a great game against this quarterback would be great for our team, the defense, the whole organization."

Rodgers was 15-of-23 passing for 114 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the first half Sunday against the Lions. He went 20-of-38 passing for 219 yards in the second half, however, in nearly rallying the Packers.

"You never feel comfortable going against him," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "He's got such great accuracy and leadership abilities. He's as impressive a guy as I've ever played against and I've got a lot of respect for him and really their whole team."

Defensive end Brian Robison said the past couple of weeks will have no relationship on what happens Sunday.

"I'm excited every week with this defense, and this week is no different," Robison said.

Asked if he appreciates the challenge of going against "great offensive players," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said, "After I'm done playing them I do, I guess. The great players are always tough to defend. I wish he wasn't so great. Hey, I'm just being honest."

The Vikings next four opponents (Green Bay, at Atlanta, Seattle, at Arizona) are a combined 23-13.

"I know we had the 'soft part' of the schedule, the 'hard part' of the schedule," Zimmer said. "We just try to go out and play every week and whoever we line up against, we just try to be better than them on that one Sunday.

"We were the 'worst 6-2 team' there was a week ago," Zimmer added. "What were the terms they were saying? We were the 'least impressive 6-2 team?' I can't worry about what other people think. I just worry about how my players play and the effort that they give, and if we're not impressive and we keep winning, more power to us."

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