Griffen going for six straight games with a sack
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—If Everson Griffen can get to Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, he'll reach a career milestone.
The Vikings defensive end has had at least one sack in all five games this season, tying the longest stretch of his career. The eight-year veteran will try to make it six straight against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"Hard work," Griffen said of the keys to his streak. "Getting with my D-line coach, Andre Patterson, each and every week. Just talking to him, really getting dialed in. I worked on my mental. This game is 80 percent mental, 20 percent physical. That's an old saying, but it is."
Griffen had five straight games with a sack in 2014. In his five outings this season, he has six sacks, tied for third in the NFL. His victims have included Pro Bowlers Drew Brees of New Orleans, Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh, Jameis Winston of Tampa Bay and Matthew Stafford of Detroit.
Now, he'll set his sights on Rodgers, a six-time Pro Bowl selection.
"Everything starts with Aaron, his play-actions to his getting the ball to his quick passes to getting his ball out quick," Griffen said. "In my opinion he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, if not the best. ... He's like a running back. You've got to treat him like one, kind of, because he can still get out of the pocket and run."
On a conference with Minnesota reporters, Rodgers said he has long been impressed with Griffen.
"He's huge, he's fast," Rodgers said. "I remember a touchdown I threw to Jordy (Nelson) at the Metrodome (in 2013), where he almost ran Jordy down. We know about his athleticism. ... He's a phenomenal pass rusher. He has all the moves. He's extremely strong. ... He can do it all."
Griffen has sacked Rodgers nine times in his last nine games against him, including one in the playoffs. He's looking forward to the next game in the rivalry.
"We're going to be crunk," Griffen said. "The game's going to be live, now. We're going to rumble now. It's going to be a game. I can't wait."
No passes go Rhodes' way
Xavier Rhodes is developing a reputation for being one of the NFL's top cornerbacks. In Minnesota's 20-17 win Monday at Chicago, Mitchell Trubinsky didn't throw a single pass to a receiver being covered by Rhodes.
Rhodes couldn't recall that ever being the case before.
"You never know if they're going to target you or not, so you have to be out there and pay attention and stay in tune," Rhodes said. "It doesn't matter. ... If they don't throw to me, they don't throw to me. If they throw to me, I have to make a play on the ball."
Five injured starters
The Vikings were without five injured starters at Wednesday's practice: Quarterback Sam Bradford (knee), wide receiver Stefon Diggs (groin), left guard Nick Easton (calf), safety Andrew Sendejo (groin) and defensive tackle Tom Johnson (knee).
Diggs, hurt in the third quarter Monday, was able to return to the game and said Wednesday he expects to play Sunday. Easton was hurt in the fourth quarter and replaced by Jeremiah Sirles for the remainder of the game.
Tackle Rashod Hill, who missed the past two games with a knee injury, returned to practice on a limited basis. Also limited were linebacker Eric Kendricks (shoulder) and center Pat Elflein (toe).
Tight end Kyle Rudolph believes former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be a good fit in Arizona, which acquired him in a trade with New Orleans. "Obviously, that's a team where he'll get carries and it's more of a run style that he's familiar with,'' Rudolph said.