The Vikings approached their 2020 season with a palpable sense of optimism about their offense and their rebuilt defense.

Yeah, good talk.

Green Bay 43, Vikings 34.

It was a lot worse than the final score might suggest.

Mike Zimmer’s defense had a disastrous debut, and the offense didn’t do much of anything until garbage time before 70,000 empty seats at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Zimmer boasted in training camp that “I’ve never had a bad defense.”

Based on first impressions, Zimmer has a lot of work on his hands to make that statement hold up. His defense’s performance was beyond bad Sunday. The Vikings had no chance against Aaron Rodgers who made it look easy in dissecting Zimmer’s young secondary.

The Vikings gave up big pass plays. They had trouble containing the run. They got zero pressure on Rodgers without injured Danielle Hunter. And they had two offsides penalties on third down that gave the Packets a fresh set of downs.

The whole thing was a mess.

Here are three things that caught my eye …

  1. Sloppy tackling

The Vikings missed two tackles on the Packers opening drive and more after that, which highlighted the lack of preseason games. Teams rarely tackle in training camp so that area figured to be a little sloppy early in the season.

  1. Offense sleepy until late

Kirk Cousins and the offense made some plays in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. The offense couldn’t sustain anything in the first half, causing the time of possession to become lopsided in favor of Green Bay.

  1. Weird play call

Vikings offense coordinator Gary Kubiak had a strange play call at a key moment in the second half. Trailing 22-10 late in the third quarter, the Vikings faced fourth-and-3 at the Packers’ 39. After a timeout, Cousins threw a deep pass down the sideline to Tajae Sharpe, their No. 4 wide receiver.

What the heck?

Nothing short to Dalvin Cook? Or Adam Thielen? Or Kyle Rudolph.

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