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Clay Matthews: Packers' goal to stop Adrian Peterson


For the Green Bay Packers, the mission is clear: Prevent Adrian Peterson from walking all over your defense for the third time in a single season.

The Minnesota Vikings running back compiled an outrageous 409 yards and two touchdowns in two regular-season contests against Green Bay, but the Packers insist they won't be embarrassed in Saturday night's wild-card game.

"We aren't giving up 200 again," linebacker Clay Matthews told USA Today.

"We want to take (Peterson) out of the mix. That's definitely the game plan," Matthews said. "If we can limit those carries and force (quarterback Christian) Ponder to beat us, then that's the game plan we're going to play. We need to do a better job of stopping the run, and we will do that. And that will help us get after the quarterback."

Green Bay's linebackers and secondary were a mess last Sunday against Peterson, who ripped off 199 yards on 34 carries and never came close to being slowed.

These division rivalries are short on deception and heavy on will. Both teams know each other so well. The Vikings have made it clear all season: Peterson will be given the ball over and over again. Until the Packers find a way to stop him, why play it any other way?

Peterson has stolen much from the Packers this season. It was assumed before the season that Minnesota would amount to two cakewalk contests for a Green Bay team expected to waltz into the playoffs. Green Bay won the first, but Sunday's loss cost the Packers a first-round bye. Now the Vikings -- a team with nothing to lose -- march right back for more.

The best playoff games are the grudge wars that pit familiar foes against each other. We won't have to wait long for one of those. Off to Lambeau we go.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.


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