Notebook: Driver Hopeful For Vikes

WR Donald Driver (Jim Luzzi/Getty)

Donald Driver uses the bye to let his injured quad heal and says he's hopeful the team will "pull the trigger" and let him play on Sunday. Plus, coach Mike McCarthy used a less-is-more approach on third downs, and much more from a busy Wednesday.

Donald Driver admits to being "stubborn." He hopes putting that stubbornness behind him and giving his injured quad extra time to heal will make him a factor in the Green Bay Packers offense after a month-long hiatus.

Driver, whose franchise-record streak of 139 consecutive games with a catch was snapped against Minnesota on Oct. 24, didn't catch a pass against the New York Jets on Oct. 31, either, and was held out of the Nov. 7 game against Dallas. Coming off last week's bye, Driver is optimistic that he'll be cleared to play on Sunday at Minnesota.

"Sometimes you just have to be patient," Driver said after testing his quad in the Don Hutson Center on Wednesday. "I'm stubborn. I'm a stubborn guy. I like to fight through everything. God told me I couldn't fight through this one, so I had to sit down and relax and he knew exactly what was coming up. The bye came at a perfect time for me."

Driver thought the testing went well and hopes the team will "pull the trigger" and allow him to practice this week to get ready for the Vikings.

Sitting out a game hurt Driver a lot more than seeing his catch streak end, he said. Driver hadn't missed a game due to injury since Week 2 of the 2003 season. The only other game he missed during that span was the regular-season finale in 2007, with the Packers prepping for their playoff run.

"I just felt, for me, once I feel like my body can't do certain things, then I'm not going to risk tearing it up worse than it already was," he said. "There was enough of a tear where, if I kept playing on it, I would have just made it worse and worse. We're playing well right now, and I don't want to miss the rest of the season by trying to fight through the rest of the season when we had a bye week coming up. I feel like if I miss one game, it's not going to hurt me and not going to hurt this team. I feel like I'm going to come back and finish these next seven games out."

Third-down improvement

Before the Dallas game, Green Bay ranked a woeful 26th in the league by converting 35.1 percent of its third downs. Against Dallas, the Packers went 10-for-15, with their 66.7 percent efficiency their best since a 2005 game against Cleveland.

A big reason was better execution of a shortened third-down menu, meaning the players took more snaps on fewer plays during the practice week.

"I think that we probably got a little too heavy in the beginning of the year, and just the fact that we were coming out of training camp," coach Mike McCarthy said. "The norm is to go real low in the beginning of the year, but with the number of weapons that we had to start the season, we probably went a little higher in certain situations. It's not really a big deal. We're talking about a handful of plays. It really comes down to concentrating on the concepts that we can hang our hat on. Frankly we went into the Dallas game, we just acknowledged that these are the three or four things we feel we do very well and that's the way we played the game."

Because they face the Vikings twice a year, McCarthy said the third-down menu will be longer this week because of the "chess match" of seeing them for the second time this season.

Packers injury report

Limited participation: T Chad Clifton (knee); WR Donald Driver (quad); LB Clay Matthews (shin); DE Ryan Pickett (ankle); TE Andrew Quarless (shoulder); CB Charles Woodson (toe). Full participation: LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder); CB Pat Lee (ankle).

Pickett hopes to practice on Thursday. He aggravated his sprained ankle against Dallas.

Vikings injury report

Did not participate: WR Bernard Berrian (groin); S Eric Frampton (hamstring). Limited participation: QB Brett Favre (ankle/foot); WR Percy Harvin (ankle); G Anthony Herrera (elbow); C John Sullivan (calf). Full participation: CB Asher Allen (concussion); CB Chris Cook (knee); S Jamarca Sanford (hamstring).

Favre said he's not "overly concerned" about his shoulder and did not have an MRI on it.

Minute Rice

While Harvin says he's feeling better after re-injuring the ankle against Chicago on Sunday, the verdict remains out on fellow receiver Sidney Rice. Rice remains on the physically unable to perform list after hip surgery, with the Vikings' three-week window to activate him not until next week.

Rice, who is in the final year of his contract, says he wants to play, contrary to a report that said he was considering shutting it down for the season and not risking his long-term health for a team that's likely not headed to the playoffs.

"If I'm healthy," Rice told reporters in Minneapolis. "That's the thing that most people aren't getting at this point. A lot of people want to talk about contract situations and that's definitely not the case. I've not spoken about money not one time since I've been here. It's just all about being healthy. I want to have a good, long career, so I've got to protect myself as well."

Four-point stance

Aaron Rodgers, on the fans' perspective against the rival Vikings: "We realize we won the first one, so we win this one, it's a sweep. You understand how much it means to the fans whenever we play Chicago and Minnesota, the kind of rivalries that those two teams have with our fans. It's important. But it's a division game. We're 2-1 in our division right now, we still play each team one more time and those are the games that we need to win here in December, try to wrap up your division and wrap up a home playoff game."

— Without prompting, Vikings coach Brad Childress took a poke at Randy Moss during his conference call with Packers beat reporters by complimenting the cafeteria staff. Moss, of course, went off about the food, which was the final straw in his four-game stint in Minnesota. "We got somebody to make it special in there for us, breakfast, lunch and dinner," Childress joked. "I'm wintering well right now, I might add, I'm up about 20, How about you guys?"

Cullen Jenkins has scrapped the club cast on his broken hand. "Just a little pad around it now. It's huge. Now it's just working at strengthening the wrist and the hand, getting back used to having it in the ground, pressure in the fingers."

— Favre, on a Green Bay defense that leads the league in points allowed: "Coach Capers has done an excellent job, especially plugging in guys after injuries. They've had a ton of injuries over the last two years and they've been able to plug guys in and still be able to play the scheme very well and also make a lot of big plays. I think the combination of the scheme and the way that their guys are playing has made them so much better."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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