Lack of pass rush exposes youthful secondary in Vikings loss to Packers

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings

The opening of the regular season didn’t go in favor of the Minnesota Vikings as they fell to the Green Bay Packers 43-34 Sunday afternoon. Although the game started out close, the nine-point margin makes the game seem closer than it was. 

The Vikings were the first team to score a touchdown but that was the only lead the team had throughout the day. The defense struggled to get off the field all afternoon and the offense struggled to stay on the field. In fact, the Vikings had the lowest time of possession since the league started recording it in 1977. 

Aaron Rodgers showed why he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer throwing for 364 yards and four touchdowns against a new look Vikings secondary. 

Rodgers exposed the youth within that secondary having a clean pocket for most of the afternoon. Yannick Ngakoue was a non-factor likely because of his limited practice reps in Minnesota, but it was clear the team was missing Danielle Hunter. 

The lack of pressure from the Vikings front four put more pressure on the young players in the secondary. Cameron Dantzler, Holton Hill and Mike Hughes all struggled, missing tackles and getting burnt on several occasions throughout the day. 

It’s easy to hit the panic button early in the season but it was just one game against one of the best quarterbacks of the last decade. These cornerbacks had to get thrown into the fire early on and it just so happened to be against an all-time great. 

The biggest area for concern should be the lack of the pass rush the Vikings displayed Sunday afternoon. The interior of the defensive line is missing a key contributor in Michael Pierce and it was already a question mark behind him. The depth isn’t there as it has been in years past and Mike Zimmer is going to have to find ways to get opposing team’s quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. 

Whether that means sending more blitz packages, letting Anthony Barr switch to more of a pass rushing role or just getting Ngakoue more comfortable in the Vikings defense, something needs to be changed from Sunday’s performance. 

Dom Capers came to the Vikings this offseason with more of a 3-4 defensive background. Letting Ngakoue get comfortable standing up rushing or allowing Barr to go after the quarterback more frequently would match up with his defensive schemes. However, the Vikings have shown no signs of this and the lack of pressure was clear all day. 

A Zimmer led team letting up 43 points is almost unheard of. Not having a preseason could be a factor but there wasn’t a team in the NFL that had the luxury of getting one in. The Vikings will look to fix their struggles next week where they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. 

For more on Sunday’s loss tune into KFAN 100.3 and

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