Dalvin Cook was the Vikings’ only consistent offensive threat during Sunday’s 21-16 loss in Green Bay, starting with the 75-yard touchdown run that set a career long.
Cook amassed 191 yards from scrimmage, including 154 yards rushing, in the 21-16 loss to the Packers. Cook’s 265 rushing yards led the NFL through the bulk of Week 2 games, sparked by the home-run touchdown when Cook found a cutback lane behind rookie center Garrett Bradbury.
“The line gave me a crease on the back side and I just hit it with all I had,” Cook said. “It was just one of those plays where I was close to being hit a couple times, but I took full advantage of it.”
Trailing by 21 points, coordinator Kevin Stefanski stuck with the running game when dialing up a handoff to Cook on the second-and-10 play that led to the touchdown.
“You can’t go away from your game plan,” Cook said. “You have to stick with it.”
Cook again had 23 touches — matching his Week 1 total against the Falcons — despite the lopsided score to start the game. He wasn’t aware of his lone low point, when Cook was flagged for offensive pass interference upon review of a scoring play, which negated Stefon Diggs’ touchdown catch.
“I don’t know,” Cook said. “I didn’t even know it was on me. I can’t describe it.”
Backup DBs targeted
The Vikings “banged-up” secondary was targeted early by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who completed 9 of 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Vikings dressed just four cornerbacks without Mackensie Alexander (elbow) and Mike Hughes (knee), and relied on safety Jayron Kearse to defend the slot.
After a 21-yard pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams, Kearse was replaced on the ensuing third down by cornerback Nate Meadors. Meadors, an undrafted rookie out of UCLA, was making his NFL debut when Rodgers targeted him for a 12-yard touchdown to receiver Geronimo Allison.
“That was a bad matchup for us,” Zimmer said.
Kearse returned on the next series and played the rest of the game. Much like the defense, Kearse rebounded and had a hand in the Vikings’ shutout after falling down 21-0; he ripped a third-down pass out of receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s hands in the fourth quarter.
“I had a pretty solid game,” Kearse said. “But that light gets dimmed when you lose.”
Special teams uneven
Another rookie cornerback, Kris Boyd, committed two penalties on special teams in Green Bay. Boyd cost the Vikings 10 yards for holding on a punt return, and was flagged in the same quarter for unnecessary roughness in punt coverage for hitting the returner while he was down.
The Vikings’ special teams in Week 2 left more to be desired after the clean opener against the Falcons. Kicker Dan Bailey missed twice — a 47-yard field goal attempt wide left and an extra point when Packers cornerback Tony Brown came unblocked off the right side.
“We got the extra point blocked,” Zimmer said, “and some not-very-smart penalties on special teams.”
• Linebacker Anthony Barr on pressuring Rodgers, who was sacked twice: “You have to be smart with the way you rush him to keep him in the pocket. I think we did that for the most part. He only had around 200 yards passing, so that is about as good as you are going to do.”
• Vikings linebacker Ben Gedeon did not play after suffering a groin injury in Friday’s practice. Packers safety Raven Greene (ankle) was carted off the field in the third quarter and did not return. Guard Pat Elflein (knee) did not play after being listed questionable.
• NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and retired quarterback Brett Favre were among the attendees at Lambeau Field as the Packers honored Bart Starr at halftime.