Coming off a solid week one win, the Vikings travel to Lambeau this week to take on Aaron Rodgers (probably) and the Green Bay Packers. Operating under the assumption that Rodgers will play seems like the correct decision, as the Vikings would likely dominate the game if DeShone Kizer starts.
Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups for week two.
Packers’ Offensive Line vs. Vikings’ Defensive Line
The Packers have a solid offensive line, including stalwarts at tackle David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter will have their work cut out for them, but both are obviously very talented as well. On the interior, the Packers have a solid group of players, but have no one as talented as Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson. Richardson was a beast in his Vikings debut, forcing multiple pressures and grading out as Pro Football Focus’ number four interior defensive lineman in week one. If he can again be a disruptive force inside, Rodgers will be forced to move laterally to avoid the rush. With Rodgers likely having a MCL sprain, those lateral movements could be difficult. Due to the limitations of Rodgers mobility, expect the battle in the trenches to be deciding factor in the game.
Rodgers will want to get the ball out quick this week to avoid risking injury to his knee. Mike Zimmer will want to use aggressive press coverage to disrupt timing and force Rodgers to hold the ball. Both Rhodes and Adams are Pro Bowl-level players. Rhodes is one of the better physical press corners in the league. Adams has developed into a good route runner and is a dangerous after the catch weapon. I expect Rhodes will shadow Adams all over the field, a role in which Rhodes dominated in 2017. If Rhodes can disrupt the timing of Adams’ routes, the Vikings’ pass rush will have longer to pressure Rodgers. With the concerns surrounding his knee, that could lead to some rushed passes or extra sacks this week.
Packers’ Secondary vs. Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs
The Packers invested high draft capital in their secondary this offseason, adding Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the first and second rounds. While those high draft picks may develop into good players, the Vikings combination of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen is one of the best in the league. Diggs will likely run the majority of his routes against 35-year-old Tramon Williams. As noted by Scott Barrett of PFF, Diggs dominates when facing slower cornerbacks. Expect Diggs to have a big game. Thielen should again see a majority of the slot work and see underneath targets. Kirk Cousins leaned on Thielen and his yards after catch ability last week, as 153 of Cousins’ 244 yards came after the catch. Thielen should again be a big YAC producer this week.