Green Bay (5-2) at Minnesota (1-6)
JARED ALLEN TRADE RUMORS
Prior to Sunday Night's game, rumors began to surface that DE Jared Allen was on the trading block.
About thirty minutes before the game kicked off I ran into Vikings owner Zygi Wilf on the sidelines of Mall of America Field. Would he consider trading Allen, I asked?
"Those rumors are baloney," Wilf said.
"But you could get something for him before the end of the season," I said, noting that Allen is in the final year of his contract.
"No," Wilf replied. "He's too good a guy, and we're gonna keep him."
With the Vikings season in disarray, don't count on Wilf's team standing pat.
Johnny Jolly's return to the Packers after a three year absence from the NFL is nothing short of inspiring.
After the 2009 season, Jolly was put on indefinite suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
In November 2011, while still suspended, Jolly was sentenced to six years in prison in Houston. An admitted Codeine addict, Jolly was arrested on drug charges and violating the terms of his probation from a previous arrest for possession of Codeine with intent to distribute.
After just six months in prison Jolly was granted early release as part of a special program in Texas. That early release came along with 10 years of probation.
Once out of jail, Jolly still had to apply for reinstatement to the NFL, which he did multiple times.
He remembers getting a phone call from his mom, Phyllis, who said, "You have a letter from the NFL."
"Am I reinstated?", Jolly asked her.
"You better come home," Phyllis replied.
Once Johnny got home, he found his Mom holding the letter, crying tears of joy and thanking God.
Jolly was elated when he finally read the letter. He told me, "I'm blessed. A lot of people never get a second opportunity."
And head coach Mike McCarthy said that when Jolly returned for his initial meeting with the Packers, he showed up with extreme gratitude for the second chance -- not with a sense of entitlement.
Aaron Rodgers told me Jolly came back as the same fierce player but with new leadership skills. McCarthy agreed. In fact, the coach called on Jolly to address the team before Sunday night's game in Minnesota.
Jolly told me he is rarely tempted to dabble in codeine again. He recalls that he had some fun times during his days using the drug, but he looks forward to even better times without it.
FACING AN OLD FRIEND
Vikings WR Greg Jennings surprised and disappointed some of his old Packer teammates with his training-camp criticism of Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay CB Tramon Williams wasn't interested in discussing that fading controversy. But he was more than willing to talk about how difficult it would be to defend Jennings
"Greg is good at everything," Williams told me at the team hotel in suburban Minneapolis. "Obviously we competed with him in practice for years. The only reason I think he's not talked about that much is because he's not a tall guy, not a 6-4, 6-5 type of body. But he does everything well."
So how do you slow him down on the football field?
"You just have to make sure your technique is sound. You don't want to take one wrong step because he can take advantage of those things."
For the record, Jennings had just one reception for nine yards on Sunday Night in Minnesota.
Since the departure of Charles Woodson, Williams has spent much of his time covering the slot for the Packers defense.
"What I like about it is it enables you to make plays in different areas of the game," he told me. "You're close to the line of scrimmage, so you get to blitz a little bit more. It takes me out of coverage some, so I'm not getting the interceptions I usually get." Williams has yet to snare an INT this season.
"I'm getting sacks," he noted. He's got two through seven games. "Sometimes you gotta go against linemen or go against backs; I look more forward to going against the backs! And you have to beat those guys with different moves. It just keeps you energized knowing you gotta go in there and battle guys like that."
BLAIR WALSH INJURY
The hamstring injury nagging Blair Walsh is on his plant leg. And he told me it does impact the way he approaches his FG attempts. He said, "I'm a small guy, so I normally put 110-percent of my body into the kick. Right now, though, I am throwing about 75-percent of myself into it -- just trying to skate through the kick. That takes some of the power out of my swing." He told me it's getting there... One day it's feeling good, the next day bad.