Packers take care of business with win over Vikings

  • By Dan Hanzus
  • Updated: Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.

The Green Bay Packers didn't get the first-round bye they coveted, but Saturday night's effortless 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings provided a reasonable facsimile of a week off.

This was not a game that tested the Packers' resolve or slayed the demons that swirled out of Lambeau after last year's ugly divisional-round loss to the New York Giants. But it did serve as a nice tune-up that sets up a trip to Candlestick Park to face the San Francisco 49ers next week.

The Packers were handed a huge advantage long before the opening kickoff when it was announced Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder would be inactive because of an elbow injury. That meant Joe Webb would be the man behind center, and it went about as well as you'd expect for a young quarterback who hadn't thrown a pass during the regular season.

Webb threw more bounce passes than a Timberwolves point guard, and the Packers never allowed Adrian Peterson -- Minnesota's only hope from the start -- to bust loose in a quiet 99-yard rushing day.

The Vikings actually moved the ball on their first possession, utilizing Webb's speed in a read-option attack. Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier made the odd decision to abandon that strategy as the game progressed, but it's certainly something to keep in mind with Colin Kaepernick up next for Green Bay.

Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile, looked as smooth and locked-in as ever. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 205 yards in the first half before the Packers went into burn-the-clock mode for much of the final two quarters. Rodgers won't win the MVP this season, but he's still the most dangerous player in this tournament.

Now the Packers go from one end of the spectrum to the other. The Vikings were happy just to make the playoffs. The 49ers -- like the Packers themselves -- view anything short of a Super Bowl berth as failure. Game on.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.