- Peterson should have shadowed Adams earlier
Yours truly doesn't pretend to be another Bill Belichick, but … Why the heck wasn't Patrick Peterson shadowing Davante Adams in the first half!? That thought came to mind with each of Adams' many career achievements the Lambeau Field press box announcer mentioned as Adams took over the first half with eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in Sunday night's 37-10 rout of the Vikings. Peterson started shadowing Adams in the second half, but it was too late. Adams caught a 19-yarder on Kris Boyd — a third-stringer two weeks ago — and a 30-yarder on Mackensie Alexander on the opening drive. He caught another 17-yarder on Boyd and beat Alexander for an 11-yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead. Zimmer said the coaches talked about having Peterson shadow Adams earlier, "But we basically had him double covered a couple of times, and he still caught the ball," Zimmer said. Adams caught only three passes for 18 yards in the second half. "We had good coverage on him the whole game," Peterson said. "Aaron was just making some great throws. A bunch of times, it was just that Aaron and Davante connection." In that first half, Adams joined Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald Jr. as the only players to reach 600 catches, 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns in eight seasons. Too bad the Vikings' best corner was on the other side of the field at the time.
2. Small penalty on Darrisaw had huge impact
The Vikings needed the perfect start to have any chance against the Packers with Kirk Cousins on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The defense opened with a red-zone stop, holding the Packers to a field goal after Aaron Rodgers went 1-for-3 for 0 yards inside the 20. So far, so good. Sean Mannion opened with a 12-yard completion to Tyler Conklin. So far, so good. Third-and-4 and Mannion connects with Conklin on a 24-yard completion to the Packers' 24. Great. Except it didn't count. Rookie left tackle Christian Darrisaw drifted downfield on the bootleg and was flagged for a 5-yard penalty. The Vikings turned the ball over on downs and didn't get past the Packers' 33-yard line until the Packers led 30-3. "I think stuff like that hurts, especially because it seems it just happened to us at bad times throughout the year," Conklin said of the penalty. "You can't make mistakes like that, especially on third down."
3. Ham's good, but he's no go-to guy on fourth down!
Zimmer definitely had to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the Packers' 47-yard line while trailing 3-0 early in the first quarter. But … how does the first-read target of Mannion's pass end up being C.J. Ham? It conjured memories of another fourth-down decision earlier this season. One that also was a good choice but terrible call — a toss sweep to Ham that didn't work. Ham couldn't get a handle on Mannion's poor, hurried throw on the sideline at the first-down marker. "I felt I exhausted my reads and it was trying to find an outlet," Mannion said. "He was the first read. Then you exhaust the progress and come back to him." Sorry, but Ham shouldn't be the first read in that situation.
4. Vikings lose fourth straight to 'other' Aaron
The Packers are 15-2 against NFC North teams since Matt LaFleur was hired as head coach in 2019. But they had lost two straight to the Vikings. Yes, they had Aaron Rodgers in both games. No, they didn't have Aaron Jones. The Packers had only 95 yards rushing in the 34-31 loss at U.S. Bank Stadium earlier this year. Sunday night, as Rodgers and the passing game was sputtering early, Jones ripped off runs of 27 and 28 yards. The 28-yarder moved him into fifth place on the Packers' career rushing list. Jones finished with 76 yards on eight carries and 30 more yards on five catches. The Packers ran for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
5. Rodgers furthers MVP case before taking early seat
One of the Associated Press' 50 MVP picks belongs to this reporter. The ballot has not been cast, but let's just say it's leaning heavily in favor of giving Rodgers his second straight MVP and Favre-surpassing fourth of his career. He's 13-2 this year. He went 8-0 against the AFC North and the NFC West. He completed 76% of his passes Sunday night for 288 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 114.8 passer rating before taking a seat halfway through the fourth quarter. The Packers just went a sixth straight game without a turnover. Rodgers has thrown 16 touchdowns with no interceptions in division games this year. Going back to last year, he's thrown 36 touchdown passes and no picks in his past 11 division games. Hey, Aaron! You sure you want to leave Green Bay?
We apologize for the inconvenience.