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Associated Press, Published November 23 2013

Packers hope to halt skid with win over Vikings

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Crunch time is here for the Packers, and not just because they’ve lost three straight games since Aaron Rodgers got hurt.

The Minnesota Vikings march into Lambeau Field today for an NFC North rivalry game that always makes coach Mike McCarthy more intense. And the Vikings (2-8) might just be the perfect foe to finally provide Green Bay (5-5) a win in what’s otherwise been a miserable November.

“Against this group that we’re playing (today), there’s always a sense of urgency,” McCarthy said.

Last time these teams met, the Packers won handily, 44-31 last month in Minneapolis. Rodgers was 24 of 29 for 285 yards and two touchdowns.

Rodgers broke his left collarbone on the first series of the Packers’ next game, against the Bears, and hasn’t played since then. McCarthy has turned to one-time third-stringer Scott Tolzien to start while Rodgers heals.

For years, a Vikings-Packers game featured two of the biggest names in the NFL in Rodgers and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Well, Rodgers is hurt. And Peterson’s banged up, too, with a sore groin. He was held out of practice at midweek, though coach Leslie Frazier said he was cautiously optimistic then that his top tailback would play.

Peterson is averaging 115.5 yards in 13 career games against Green Bay.

Today’s game would also mark the first back at Lambeau for former Packers receiver Greg Jennings, who missed practice at midweek due to an Achilles tendon injury.

Tolzien has shown poise in handling the glare that comes with having to replace perhaps the more irreplaceable player in the NFL. The on-field results so far are two defeats.

Tolzien has thrown for 619 yards over the past two games, and shown he can hit the deep ball. But Tolzien already has five interceptions in 73 attempts, or one more than Rodgers had in 251 attempts.

“He’s learning on the fly,” Rodgers said. “His preparation has been very good, his approach. And I think he’s primed to have a good week.”

With a start, Tolzien would become the first Packers quarterback other than Brett Favre or Rodgers to start back-to-back games since Don Majkowski started the first three games in 1992.