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Week 2 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 29, Green Bay Packers 29


What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings

This was a game with story lines galore coming into it and will also be talked about for weeks to come with the way that it ended. The biggest story line coming into the game was Aaron Rodgers and his bruised knee and how he would deal with Anthony Barr on the other side who effectively ended his season last year. The entire game is going to be over shadowed by horrendous officiating, kickers who cannot seem to do their job, and a roughing the passer rule that seems more ambiguous than trying to figure out what a catch is. Kirk Cousins outplayed Aaron Rodgers and mounted an improbable comeback just to see it all spoiled by a rookie kicker missing his third field goal of the day. The Viking defense did not look like the top-rated squad from a year ago but did manage to make a few big plays when needed. Anyone who watched this game walked away feeling disappointed in the tie. Both teams had their chances to win and just simply blew it. This is only the third tie in the Packer/Viking series and it will be interesting to see what sort of effect it has on the standings at the end of the year come playoff time. The Vikings will look to rebound against a Bills team that was blown out again this weekend.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers tied the Minnesota Vikings 29-29 in a game that went into overtime on Sunday. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 30 of 42 passes for 281 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Running back Jamaal Williams carried the ball 16 times for 59 yards, while also catching three passes for 12 yards. Davante Adams led the Packers with eight receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown, while fellow wide receiver Geranimo Allison caught six passes for 64 yards. Week one hero Randall Cobb had a quiet game, catching four passes for 30 yards. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught six passes for 90 yards.

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 35 - 48 - 425 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0
When a team goes out and gives you the first ever fully guaranteed contract, this is the type of game they expect you to play. Cousins surpassed 400 yards for the first time with the Vikings and accounted for all 4 touchdowns. The rust and timing issues that he seemed to have with his top weapons from the preseason seem to have faded and he almost pulled an Aaron Rodgers against the Packers if it had not been for a rookie kicker missing 3 times. Cousins got the party started right after the Packers had scored on a blocked punt. After a great kick return, Cousins capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Laquon Treadwell. The ball was thrown perfectly over the top to Treadwell who had found some room yard rush right up the seam. This was the receivers first touchdown catch of his career. He later rewards Cousins with a tipped ball for an interception that almost cost the Vikings the game. The second touchdown came on a quick out to Stefon Diggs. The receiver was called into motion, ran back and forth a few times to expose coverage, and then immediately broke outside on the snap for an easy 3-yard touchdown. The third touchdown also came to Diggs as was a 75-yard bomb down the right sideline. Diggs simply outran his coverage and Cousins put the ball right into his stride for the big touchdown. The final touchdown was a beautifully thrown ball between two defenders to Adam Thielen. Cousins laid it right into his chest as he was falling backwards into the end zone. This put the Vikings within 2 points of the tie and Cousins then hit Stefon Diggs in the corner or the end zone as the isolated receiver. This was a huge comeback late in a game against your rival. It is a shame it was ruined by the rookie kicker. Cousins will get another great matchup next week against the Bills.

RB Dalvin Cook, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 38 - 0, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (5 targets)
The Vikings were playing from behind for a good portion of this game and they never truly committed to the run. As a team, they ran the ball fewer than 20 times and never got any sort of rhythm going. Cook had more than double the carries of anyone else but only managed 3.8 yards per carry. He had a single 9-yard rush but was never able to break through into the second level. He did continue to show his ability to catch the ball out of the back field and ripped off a 24-yard catch and run, but he has to get things going on the ground. Cook has been running behind a patch work offensive line but has the ability to create plays on his own. There was one scary moment where he went down after a short run and the trainers came out to take a look. It appeared to only be a cramp and he was able to return to the game later, but it is a situation like this that may keep him on a pitch count early in the season. Cook will face a Bills defense that has been very giving to opposing running backs early in the season and should have the chance to get back on track.

RB Latavius Murray, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 19 - 0
It is hard to get anything going with only 4 carries, but Murray found the most room to run and averaged just under 5 yards per carry. It was Murray that the Vikings trusted in overtime to setup the game winning field goal attempt and not Cook. Murray ripped off a 9 and then 4-yard rush to set the Vikings up on the 17-yard line for that fateful kick. He was not targeted in the passing game at all and lost out on goal line carries to Cook. Murray is not that far removed from being a Pro Bowl running back in Oakland, but he is clearly serving a secondary role in Minnesota. If Cook continues to struggle on the ground, it will be interesting to see how many more carries Murray is given.

WR Adam Thielen, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 12 - 131 - 1 (13 targets)
The breakout season from a year ago continues as Thielen racks up the catches. He snared 12 of his 13 targets and the most important touchdown of the day. His 131 yards lead the team this week despite the slow start to the game. Almost all of his damage continues to come across the middle or on out routes towards the sideline in the zone void left by the corner and safety. Thielen's hands are only second to Diggs on the team and Cousins has found a very reliable third down option. His biggest play came on his 22-yard touchdown catch. Thielen had worked his way down the sideline and had a step on his corner in coverage. Cousins floated the ball just above the corner but still put enough on it that the diving safety could not make a play. The ball went right between the two defenders and Thielen was able to pin the ball against his chest as he fell backwards into the end zone right at the pylon. This would have never happened had it not been for a questionable roughing the passer call that overturned a game sealing interception, but the Vikings made the best of what they were given.

WR Stefon Diggs, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 9 - 128 - 2 (13 targets)
With two touchdowns, over 100 yards, and a game tying two-point conversion, Diggs played a huge role for the Vikings again this week. Diggs was targeted 13 times and tied Adam Thielen for the team lead. This was his second straight game with over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. His first touchdown was a very interesting play. Cousins called him into motion, he broke in towards the backfield like he was going to run a jet sweep, then cut back outside after revealing the coverage, and eventually caught an easy 3-yard touchdown on a quick out. The motion back and forth looked odd, but it served a purpose and resulted in a touchdown. His second score came on a 75-yard bomb down the right sideline. He lined up next to Laquon Treadwell, who pulled the coverage to the inside, and all Diggs had to do was beat his corner in soft coverage. Cousins hit Diggs right in stride and he outran the safety who was late getting over in coverage. The two touchdowns were huge, but it was the two-point conversion play that helped send it to over time. The Vikings lined up in a bunch formation to the right side with Diggs left isolated on the left. Cousins looked right briefly and then threw a fade to the back corner of the end zone for Diggs. He caught the ball easily and attempted to silence the crowd with the score now tied late in the fourth quarter.

WR Laquon Treadwell, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 1 (6 targets)
There was a very wide range of emotions for Treadwell this week. He scored his first career touchdown, but also added to his league leading drops total and almost cost the Vikings the game with a pass that went straight through his hands and to a Green Bay defender for an interception. The first touchdown came right after the Packer had just taken the lead on a blocked punt for a touchdown. Treadwell ran right up the seam and Cousins put the ball just over his shoulder for the score. It was in this moment that many thought he was finally reaching his potential. However, late in the fourth quarter with the game on the line he almost cost the Vikings everything. It was a simple quick slant to the inside for what should have been a first down. Cousins hit Treadwell square in the hands and the ball skipped through and right to a Packers safety. The ball was returned to inside the 20 and the Packers eventually settled for a field goal and an 8-point lead. Treadwell has the size and speed to be an elite receiver but continues to struggle with his route running and drops.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 72 - 0 (8 targets)
With Diggs and Thielen taking most of the headlines and touchdowns, Rudolph is easy to get overlooked in the offense. This plays directly into what the Vikings want to happen as the Packers defense began to forget about him as the game wore on. He managed to sneak out for a big 23-yard gain at the end of the third quarter. This helped set up the Vikings second touchdown after he was pushed out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Rudolph has not shown the same red zone prowess he did a year ago, but Thielen and Diggs have cashed in instead. It is only a matter of time before Rudolph gets his chances in the red zone.


Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 42 - 281 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 30 of 42 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown while also rushing three times for eight yards. Rodgers only touchdown pass of the game came at the start of the second quarter to Davante Adams. With Rodgers operating out of the shotgun, Adams ran a shallow out-route to the left sideline where Rodgers put the pass quickly, giving Adams time to turn and face his defender while cutting back twice back to the inside of the field for the touchdown. It was a standard throw from Rodgers, but Adams deserves some credit for eluding two defenders. Part of Rodgers mystique is that he makes things look so easy, and this game was really no different, although his receivers did a good job of getting open and making things easy on Rodgers. Even Jimmy Graham, who is not as spry as he once was, got great separation on his biggest gain of the day, a 35 yard reception where Rodgers made a routine throw up the right sideline. Rodgers moved the offense well enough to allow Mason Crosby to convert five field goals, but ultimately a tie against the Vikings was a poor outcome for a Packers team that controlled this game until deep in the 4th quarter.

RB Jamaal Williams, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 59 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (4 targets)
Jamaal Williams rushed 16 times for 59 yards and caught three passes for 12 yards against the Vikings. Williams long gain of 11 yards came with 31 seconds left in regulation and the ball at the Packers own 25 yard line, with the Vikings essentially in prevent defense. Prior to that, 10 of his 19 carries had gone for three yards or less. If playing for any other team, I doubt that Williams would still be carrying the ball as a teamís primary running back, but with the Packers short on ball carriers, and Aaron Rodgers masking the stink of the running game, Williams continues to get opportunities. He is running short on capital with Aaron Jones set to make his debut this coming week.

WR Davante Adams, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 64 - 1 (12 targets)
Davante Adams caught eight passes for 64 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets in the Packers tie against the Vikings on Sunday. Adams led the team in receptions, although he averaged only eight yards a catch on the day, a small number even by Adams standards. Adams came up with the only score on the day for the Packers, as well as the catch that set up the touchdown as well. With the Vikings blitzing both linebackers, the Packers were able to give Rodgers time in the pocket, which he took full advantage of by dancing around and never making himself an easy target. Adams ran a shallow in-route from the right side of the field and instead of cutting off his route, he just kept on running across the field while creating enough separation to allow Rodgers to deliver the ball in front of him. With the ball now at the nine yard line, Adams ran an out-route from the left sideline. Rodgers delivered the pass as Adams was turning which gave him enough time to catch the ball and turn on his defender in space. Adams then juked his defender and another Vikings defender towards the middle of the field before scoring nearly untouched.

WR Geronimo Allison, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 64 - 0 (6 targets)
Geronimo Allison caught six passes for 64 yards on seven targets against the Vikings. Through two games, Allison has caught eleven passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, while carving out a role in the Packers offense along the way. Allison has proven to be a dependable target for Rodgers, catching all but two targets thrown his way. Allisonís long gain of the day went for 22 yards and it showed off the fact that despite being a target for Rodgers mainly in the short passing game as a possession receiver, he has some wiggle to his game and is capable of picking up yards after the catch. Allison ran a 10 yard comeback route along the right sideline and as he caught the ball, he made an impressive fake with his inside shoulder, allowing him to shake his defender and turn the ball upfield along the sideline. He wasnít done there though, as Allison juked the next defender, cut back to the middle of the field and gained another 14 yards after the catch. In addition to having a solid game as a receiver, Allison also made his presence felt on special teams, recording a blocked punt in the first quarter that Green Bay recovered for a touchdown.

WR Randall Cobb, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (6 targets)
Randall Cobb caught four passes for 30 yards on six targets against the Vikings on Sunday. As opposed to week one where he was the primary target for Rodgers, Cobb had a very quiet day. He caught passes of 14 yards, three yards, four yards and nine yards. Cobb was targeted deep down the field on two of his other targets but failed to come up with the catches, including one that went for an interception that was luckily overturned due to other off-setting penalties. In addition, Cobb also muffed a punt that he was able to recover before the Vikings were right there on top of him. All in all, not a banner day for Cobb.

TE Jimmy Graham, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 95 - 0 (8 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught six of eight targets for 95 yards against the Vikings on Sunday, leading all Packers receivers in yards. After catching only two passes for eight yards in week one, Graham was much more involved in week two, something that may hint at he and Randall Cobbís usage in the same game, although it is too early in the season to know just yet. This was a turn back the clock game for Graham, as he was able to make some athletic moves in his routes and get upfield in a way that we havenít seen from the past couple of years. His long gain of the day came on a 34 yard catch up the left sideline where he ran an out and up route that the Vikings defenders just completely misplayed. The Vikings thought that Graham was going to stay in the flat and instead he turned the route upfield and made them pay with a long catch, and then another ten yards after the catch. Graham also had a 12 yard touchdown nullified by an offensive holding penalty that had little bearing on his catch. The touchdown would have completed a big day for Graham and put him over the 100 yard receiving mark. Graham did come up big for the Packers on a 2nd and 10 at their own 36 yard line with 16 seconds left to play in regulation. Graham ran a deep route up the right sideline and made a nice catch before stepping out of bounds for a 27 yard gain that set up Mason Crosbyís game winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation. Although he missed (his only miss on six attempts), it was a really good sign to see Graham be targeted on a play where he had to get out of bounds in order for the Packers to have one more play.