Packers shuffle backup tackle spot in advance of Vikings game

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MINNEAPOLIS - Tackle Jared Veldheer was retired in late November. On Monday, the Green Bay Packers made him their backup tackle in advance of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Alex Light had been the Packers' backup swing tackle during the season, but he missed a practice earlier in the week due to illness. He did return during the week, but the Packers elected to activate Veldheer, who was claimed by the Packers on Nov. 27 after informing the New England Patriots he wanted to return to football after saying he was retiring in the spring. The 32-year-old tackle last played Dec. 30, 2018 for the Denver Broncos.

Light had played at least one offensive snap in eight games and played 51 against Philadelphia, 16 against Kansas City and 70 against San Francisco in relief of right tackle Bryan Bulaga.

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Jared Veldheer (66) looks on against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Joining Light on the inactive list for the Vikings game was rookie tight end Jace Sternberger, along with the following players: 

  • Ryan Grant, WR
  • Dexter Williams, RB 
  • Tony Brown, CB
  • Ka'dar Hollman, CB
  • John Leglue, OT

For Minnesota, backup running back Alexander Mattison (ankle) joined starter Dalvin Cook (chest) as inactive for the game, leaving second-year man Mike Boone as the primary ball carrier.

McCarthy gets interview

After a season away from football, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is already back in pursuit of a job.

McCarthy interviewed for the Carolina Panthers coaching position Sunday, according to ESPN. The interview came a little more than a year after the Packers fired McCarthy, who served 13 seasons as their head coach.

McCarthy was involved in multiple head-coaching processes last offseason, including one with the New York Jets. He has made his desire to coach again clear during a media tour in the past month.

Packers play with noise, schedule

Since the start of training camp, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has eschewed practice time and intensity in favor of recovery for his players — and each choice along the way has paid off. His team remains one of the healthiest and most complete in football, so he decided to use the extra day afforded with a Monday night game by giving his players another day off Wednesday.

“It was, especially at this point in the season, I think it’s really good for these guys if you can get ‘em just a little bit of a break, both mentally and physically and that’s good for ‘em,” LaFleur said last week. “So, I like where we’re at when I saw them this morning, just in terms of the focus. You could feel it in the room and now we’ve got to go out and practice.”

The coaches and training staff also took the extra day to plan ahead for the coming short week — which includes a holiday for some and travel to Detroit just five days after returning from Minnesota. The Packers had one other short turnaround this season, when they beat the Lions 23-22 at home on Monday, Oct. 14 and then had their best offensive performance of the year the next Sunday with a 42-24 victory against Oakland.

Once the team returned to the facility Thursday, the players worked inside the Don Hutson Center with artificial noise pumped in as the team tried to acclimate itself to finishing the season with two divisional indoor road games.

“We did that from a coaching standpoint, just took that extra day and put a little pre-prep work into what’s to come,” LaFleur said. “But I think if we’re focused on anything else in front of us, then we’re doing a disservice, not only to this football team, but like I said, that’s a pretty darn good opponent that we’ve got to go into their building and play.”

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