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Vikings Roundup 11/20: Vikings Defense to Share Lacy Load

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings said they will share responsibility for bearing the load of Packers running back Eddie Lacy.

Minnesota (4-6) hosts Green Bay (7-3) in the second edition of the Border Battle at noon (CT) Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Long before a long TD and pair of turnovers swung open the first game, a 42-10 win by the Packers at Lambeau Field, Lacy's chunks of yardage on rushes troubled the Vikings. He took three straight handoffs for gains of 18, 29 and 6 to account for 53 yards of a 61-yard touchdown drive on Green Bay's second possession.

Lacy had runs of 9, 10 and 11 yards, with the last of those carries being a touchdown on Green Bay's opening possession of the second half, and added another 10-yard TD. Lacy is the only player to have more than 100 yards on the ground and two rushing TDs in a game against the Vikings this season.

Linebacker Jasper Brinkley said Vikings defenders reviewed the film from the first meeting and identified mistakes that helped Lacy average 8.1 yards on 13 rushes, which is almost double his 4.2 yards per carry on the season. 

"You have to go out and tackle well," Brinkley said. "(Lacy) is a good back, a big back, like a battering ram. He's going to take more than one guy to bring him down and we don't want to leave one guy on him. He's a tough runner."

Defensive Coordinator George Edwards said Minnesota must tackle better this week than it did against Chicago last week, when Matt Forte became the third running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Vikings this season. Forte had 26 carries for 117 yards and also added six receptions for 58 yards.

"I think they've really done a nice job of running the ball," Edwards said. "We've got to do a good job of tackling, which we didn't do last week. We know coming into this game and after playing these guys the first time that you've got to do a good job of tackling Lacy. They're very good at run-after-the-catch, their receivers are very good, athletic, do a good job of stiff arming and stuff and running after the catch, so we've got to do a good job of limiting those things. That's been an emphasis for us, is we've got to do a good job of tackling. Once we get into position to make those plays, we've got to get them on the ground."

Edwards said goals will be getting multiple defenders to the football "with a specific purpose."

"You've got to wrap up, grab cloth and get him on the ground," Edwards added.

TATE'S FIRST DAY: Newest Viking Ben Tate III, a running back the Vikings claimed on waivers after his release by the Browns this week, arrived Thursday for his first day at Winter Park.

"I'm excited to be here, get this opportunity and help this team win some games," Tate said. "It's going to be tough (to contribute a lot quickly) just because everything is totally different, so I'll have to get in the playbook and learn what I can."

Tate's arrival occurred on a day when Matt Asiata missed his second straight day of practice because of a concussion and when Jerick McKinnon was limited because of his lower back. Joe Banyard was the only back on the active roster able to fully practice the previous day.

Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner said coaches would work quickly with Tate to teach him as much of the Vikings system as possible and see how he could best be utilized. Turner said there will be a balance of trying to make things simple enough to be quickly taught yet complex enough to challenge a defense.

"I think we're going to work toward that," Turner said. "We'll see how he handles it, we'll see what our situation is. Obviously if you water it down too much then those guys on the other side it's pretty obvious to them. Hopefully there are some things we can get him involved with."

INSIDE OUT: A possible new wrinkle to the longstanding rivalry is the recent way the Packers have shifted outside linebacker Clay Matthews to an inside linebacker spot for some plays in their 3-4 front. Julius Peppers and Nick Perry started at the outside linebacker spots against Philadelphia, and Matthews has started as a middle linebacker next to A.J. Hawk the past two games, a move Packers coach Mike McCarthy implemented after their Week 9 bye.

"I think they've done it to get their best players on the field," Turner said. "The combination of getting him inside gets a very good player at the outside. When they are in that early down, nickel package they are still using Clay as a rusher. They're an outstanding coaching staff and that defensive group is unbelievably experienced and they are doing everything they can to get the most out of their players and it's been very productive for them. "

PARTICIPATION: For Minnesota: In addition to Asiata, Greg Jennings (rib) and Shariff Floyd (knee) did not participate. Jarius Wright (hamstring), Mike Harris (ankle) and Anthony Barr (knee) were limited. Xavier Rhodes (ankle) Everson Griffen (neck), Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) and Scott Crichton (hip) fully participated Thursday.

For Green Bay: Brandon Bostick (hip), Jarrett Bush (groin) and Nick Perry (shoulder) did not participate. T.J. Lang (ankle), Josh Sitton (toe), Jayrone Elliott (hamstring) and Clay Matthews (groin) were limited Thursday.

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