The Green Bay Packers must have felt like they were having deja vu this past weekend. They were beaten easily by their NFC North rivals the Minnesota Vikings 23-7, bringing up memories of their Week 1 performance in 2021. In that game, they were lambasted by the New Orleans Saints on the road, 38-3.
While many people will point to the offense’s struggles as the reason for losing, the Packers certainly had their backs up against the wall. Minnesota is motivated to prove they can hang with Green Bay and caught them at a good time; numerous starters were sidelined for the Packers and the Vikings took full advantage.
Instead, what was concerning for Green Bay in the eyes of Dan Orlovsky of ESPN was their performance defensively. The Packers focused a lot of effort in recent offseasons on upgrading that side of the ball but it didn’t bear results in the first game of the season.
“I was more disappointed with the defense yesterday than I was with the performance of their offense.”
Rodgers was not pleased with how the offense performed, making comments about mental lapses the team made. The game would have been totally different had Christian Watson not dropped what looked to be a surefire touchdown on a deep pass from Rodgers in the first quarter.
Tying the game at 7-7 instead of remaining down 7-0 and allowing the Vikings to continue building their momentum would have been beneficial. Minnesota took full advantage of the miscue as their offense rolled all afternoon.
Kirk Cousins completed 23 out of 32 pass attempts for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked only once as he was comfortable in the pocket all afternoon. He and Justin Jefferson torched the Packers’ defense as he caught nine passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
As Orlovsky pointed out, Jefferson was so open a few times that even he couldn’t believe it. Minnesota took full advantage of some questionable schematics that Green Bay deployed with linebackers getting matched up on the star receiver.
Dalvin Cook and Andrew Mattison steamrolled them on the ground, rushing for 126 yards on 28 carries. Cook added three receptions for 18 yards as the running backs produced in every facet of the game.
Figuring things out on that end, as the Packers were projected to have one of the best defensive units in the NFL, will be key to them getting things on track. The offense, when healthier, should find its footing sooner than later just as it did last year.