One of the greatest rivalries in the National Football League renewed with the Sam Bradford led Minnesota Vikings taking on the Green Bay Packers in another exciting NFC North clash. The Vikings went into Green Bay in week 17 last season and won the NFC North, and made it two victories in a row over Green Bay in week two of the 2016 season.
After a slow start, Bradford began to heat up and found Stefon Diggs over and over again en route to a 17-14 victory over the Packers. Equally impressive to Bradford and Diggs was the defense who held Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense to 65 total yards in the first half.
Minnesota Vikings Week Two Takeaways
The Sam Bradford to Stefon Diggs Connection
With the loss of Teddy Bridgewater and the rapid acquisition of Bradford, he was pushed into the starting role. While Shaun Hill played competently in week 1, the Minnesota Vikings knew they were going to need more big plays out of the quarterback position. Bradford delivered and delivered to his favorite customer in Diggs.
It is truly amazing how quickly Bradford picked up the offense and gained a rapport with the Vikings wide receivers. Bradford played like he’d been in camp all year and didn’t miss a beat. Bradford and Diggs brought something to the Vikings offense that they haven’t had for several years, big plays in the passing game.
Dominant Vikings Defense
The Vikings turned in their second consecutive dominant performance against the Green Bay Packers. The defense hit Aaron Rodgers eight times, sacked him five times, forced him to fumble three times and Trae Waynes put the dagger in the Packers with his interception. Tom Johnson, perhaps the best backup defensive tackle in the league, filled in for the often injured Sharrif Floyd. Johnson recorded four hits on Rodgers, a sack and a tackle for a loss. Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph , as usual, were often disruptive.
The defense never let Rodgers get comfortable and they didn’t allow Eddie Lacy to get rolling on them either. While the defense didn’t put any points on the board like they did last week, they did hold one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best, to 213 yards passing with a touchdown, an interception and a lowly passer rating of 70.7.
Not Everything Was Great
The offensive line was, once again, just plain bad. The unit allowed ten hits on Bradford, four sacks and nine tackles for a loss. Matt Kalil, Andrea Smith, and Brandon Fusco were most notably bad. Bradford isn’t known for his durability and isn’t likely to stay healthy if this pounding continues. Granted, some of those hits are on him and with more time in the offense, he’ll probably get rid of the ball a little quicker.
Cornerback play overall wasn’t very good. Early in the game Terence Newman was picked on and gave up a couple of pass interference calls that resulted in a touchdown. Waynes started out strong but toward the middle of the game, he started to fall apart and starting grabbing and holding and got flagged for pass interference several times. Other times, Waynes simply wasn’t turning around and looking for the ball allowing the wide receiver to catch the ball uncontested. As poor as the two played, they played poorly at different times in the game while the other was playing stronger. Both redeemed themselves by the end of the game, Newman with a key pass defended and Waynes with the dagger interception that all but ended the game.
Injuries are another concern. Danielle Hunter went out of the game with a knee injury and Adrian Peterson was carried off the field to the locker room and didn’t return. Tom Johnson also seemed to have sustained an injury.
Sam Bradford exceeded all expectations and led the Minnesota Vikings to a win over their hated division rival. Stefon Diggs took another step in his emergence as a rising star. The defense showed that last week was not a fluke. Blair Walsh is a story for not being a story. All-in-all, there were places for improvement but the Vikings got exactly what they needed from Sam Bradford and they won as a result.