Gannett Wisconsin Media’s Brett Christopherson caught up with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, who looked ahead to Sunday’s Week 11 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m.
What sort of challenges does that ninth-ranked Vikings defense present? Minnesota has surrendered the second-fewest points in the league at 154 through nine games.
RC: They’ve been able to produce some turnovers. They’ve got a good front and can get after the quarterback. And they have some big hitters in the back end and some guys with good ball skills back there who can make some plays. Definitely another challenge for us. Another division game, and it’s on the road. Obviously, another tough test.
Where would you rank Harrison Smith among the safeties you’ll go against this season? He might not be that “household name” among fans, but he has a sack, a forced fumble, an interception, leads the team in total tackles and hits hard. Is he the tone-setter for the Vikings defensively?
RC: Definitely. I’ve known Harrison since high school. Me and him, we actually grew up in the same area. I’ve been watching him play for a long time, and he definitely is one of the more underrated safeties in our league. He has all the tools that you look for in a safety. He’s a hitter. He has great ball skills. He can get off the hash and cover sideline to sideline. And he can play down in the box.
Vikings players have been given T-shirts with the words “Beat Green Bay” printed on the back, so you have to expect they’re going to come out with high energy from the get-go. Aaron Rodgers said after last week’s game against the Lions that "the energy wasn't great from the start." How do you prevent another flat start?
RC: I take that upon myself to be the spark of the team. Whenever we make a play offensively, it kind of keeps the team going and vice-versa. When our defense makes a play, it kind of amps up our offense. So we just have to … make those plays and those opportunities. And that’s going to spark our team and get that vibe up and turn up the sidelines a little bit.
You’re only guaranteed 16 games, so every one of those contests is a must-win. But has that sense of urgency intensified as you look to draw even with Minnesota atop the NFC North standings?
RC: There’s a lot of football left to be played, but yes — we need a win. We definitely need a win. After three straight losses, we just need a win. Everything is magnified whenever you lose. We just need to find a way to get it done.
You’re looking to snap a rare three-game losing streak. Where is the team emotionally as you get ready to take on the Vikings?
RC: I think the biggest thing with us is when things aren’t going our way, or when things are going bad, we just go back to work. That’s really all you can do. You can talk all you want, but it’s about going out and producing. So just go back to work, continue to put your head down, continue to work hard and the results will come.
Brett Christopherson: 920-993-7117, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCBrettC