Matthews: ‘We ain't giving up no 200 again'

Clay Matthews (Jeff Hanisch/USP)

Clay Matthews is determined to have the Packers limit Adrian Peterson's success and was adamant that would happen Saturday. Matthews had some interesting things to say when asked about Peterson.

Adrian Peterson has averaged 204½ rushing yards per game in the previous two matchups against the Green Bay Packers, but linebacker Clay Matthews is insistent that won't happen.

Asked if Green Bay can feel good about getting a win in spite of Peterson rushing for "200 yards" – a reference to the 210 Peterson earned at Lambeau Field on Dec. 2 in the 23-14 Packers win – Matthews said that wasn't going to happen when the two teams meet Saturday in the opening round of the NFC playoffs at Lambeau.

"Well, he got 190 and we lost," Matthews said, referencing the 199 yards Peterson had against the Packers at Mall of America Field Sunday in a 37-34 Vikings win. "We ain't giving up no 200 again. We need to do a better job. The offense puts up, what, 34 points? We can't give up 37. We'll do a better job this weekend."

Judging by his quotes to the Green Bay media Wednesday, Matthews wasn't in much of a mood to talk about the success of Peterson, Christian Ponder or the Vikings offense after Sunday's game.

The Packers are far from alone in being victims of Peterson's success and determination in 2012. He had a 212-yard game against the St. Louis Rams sandwiched in between his outings against the Packers and has averaged 160 yards rushing over his last 10 games.

But his last two games against the Packers hold a special place. His 409 yards rushing against Green Bay are the fourth-most by any player versus a single opponent in a season, according to ESPN.

Despite that, Matthews had an interesting observation while defending the Packers' run defense.

"I don't think we ever quit. Perhaps he does, but we never quit," Matthews said. "He makes plays out there, but it just goes back to, we had the right calls, we just need to be a little smarter as far as where we fit and then a little more accountable and reliable as far as what we do. There were a couple of times where, perhaps playing somebody else, we could fall inside somebody else's gap. With this team, they'll make you pay and that's exactly what happened."

Peterson finished the season with seven games in which he had at least 150 yards rushing, which tied Earl Campbell's 1980 mark for most in a season in NFL history.

Matthews twice indicated that Packers defenders need to play within the scheme to limit Peterson. Despite Ponder's success Sunday – he threw for 234 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a career-high 120.2 passer rating – the Green Bay game plan on defense is predictably focused on Peterson.

"If anything, we want (Ponder) in the mix. We want to take 28 out of the mix and that's the game plan this week," Matthew said. "I think they handed him the ball a career high last week."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.


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