The Vikings have fared quite well against the Packers in the Mike Zimmer era. Last year, the Vikings won and tied. They swept the Packers in 2017; split in 2016 and 2015; and got swept by Green Bay in 2014, Zimmer’s first year as head coach.
The most important thing the Vikings have done against the Packers is to keep Aaron Rogers contained in the pocket, so he can’t extend plays. That is a credit to the discipline of the Vikings rushers. Zimmer explains:
“You have to be careful the way you rush him because he has the mobility to get out. When he gets out, a lot of bad things can happen. We have to be guarded in our rush. We have to understand the rush plan, how we’re going to do it and what we’re going to do. It’s not just lay your ears back and go with him because he’s too dangerous when he gets out of the pocket. We have to maintain our lanes and then we have to be tight on coverage. He’s very, very good at getting the ball quickly out of his hands, getting it in the seams. He’s got a great arm and he sees thing very well. He’s doing a lot of checking at the line of scrimmage. We’re going to have to play really, really good.”
If their first game is any indication, that Packers offense is not ready for prime time.
That’s why I’m not too worried about what should be a major concern: The absence of cornerback Mackensie Alexander due to a dislocated elbow (ouch!).
Cornerback depth has been a concern since the pre-season with Mike Hughes still recovering, Holton Hill suspended, and rookie Kris Boyd looking every bit the rookie.
Boyd saw some action against the Falcons, which was good to get him some experience early but, damn, he did look kinda lost. He lined up on the wrong side on one play until Xavier Rhodes angrily motioned him over to the opposite side of the field.
I just don’t think the Packers can take advantage of our lack of depth at this point. Jayron Kearse ought to fill in nicely for Alexander. Let’s just hope the Vikings don’t suffer any more injuries to the backfield.
The Packers defense, however, looks to be much improved and should be a good test for the Vikings offense. The interior offensive line, namely Elflein and Bradbury, remain a concern, so we’ll see.