MINNEAPOLIS – Davante Adams put the finishing touches on his first 1,000-yard receiving season with his 36-yard catch down the Packers’ sideline late in the fourth quarter against the Vikings.
Adams came within three yards of eclipsing that mark during his breakout season in 2016 and then again appeared to be on track to top it last year before sustaining a concussion that sidelined him for the final two games of the season.
Off to one of the best starts for a receiver in team history, Adams managed to accomplish the feat with five games still left in the regular season and currently is one of only eight NFL receivers to have surpassed 1,000 yards in 2018.
Before reaching that milestone, Adams caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter to become the first Packers receiver since Sterling Sharpe (1992-94) to record three consecutive seasons with at least 70 receptions and 10 touchdowns.
Adams, who led Green Bay with five catches for 69 yards, also is the only NFL receiver to have at least 10 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.
“Congrats on your first 1,000-yard season big bro,” rookie receiver Marquez-Valdes Scantling tweeted after Sunday night’s game. “More to come. Keep setting the bar family. Major respect.”
With Jimmy Graham battling through a thumb injury and receiver Randall Cobb out with a hamstring, the Packers looked to Adams and rookie receiver Equanimeous St. Brown to help move the ball through the air.
St. Brown caught three passes for 53 yards against Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes in the first half before sustaining an elbow injury. He exited briefly, but eventually returned to the game.
“No one likes injuries. They happen to every team. Just have to work through it,” St. Brown said. “(My game was) nothing special. Just doing my job, really. Doing what they pay me to do.”
O-line switch-up: The Packers had to tap into their depth on the offensive line after injuries to left tackle David Bakhtiari and left guard Lane Taylor.
Third-year tackle Jason Spriggs finished the game in place of Bakhtiari, while Justin McCray stepped in for Taylor. Bakhtiari returned to the game for one series after being listed as questionable with a knee injury, but then left for a second time.
“Obviously, for me, all these guys are close as friends, (I) pretty much call them family,” right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. “You want to make sure they’re all right. From the standpoint of guys stepping in and out, it’s football. Things happen. We feel like we can count on the guys who are coming in for them.
“While obviously a player like Dave and a player like Lane go down, someone has to come in and step up, but I feel like in our room we’re confident in the guys who are coming in to take their spot.”
The Packers also lost returner Trevor Davis (hamstring) and safety Kentrell Brice (ankle/evaluation for a concussion) in the loss to the Vikings.
The Green Bay Packers traveled to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
Defending the run: The Packers held Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray and the Vikings’ run game in check Sunday night despite missing defensive tackle Mike Daniels.
Cook and Murray combined for only 61 yards on 21 carries, while the Vikings averaged only 3.1 yards on the ground. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine still deployed a lot of base fronts with Tyler Lancaster and Montravius Adams rotating in with Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry.
Adams, the 2017 third-round pick, made a key stop of Murray for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 in the second quarter. Dan Bailey then proceeded to miss a 48-yard field goal to keep the game tied at 14 with 4:40 left in the first half.
“I think we did well,” said Clark, who recorded his sixth sack of the year on Sunday. “We played fast. Dean got a sack, Tyler played some great snaps, Mon played some good snaps. We played good as a defensive front.”
Traveling with Thielen: Rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander drew the primary assignment of defending Adam Thielen, and the Packers’ rookie cornerback mostly held own against the Vikings’ Pro Bowl receiver.
Along with his seven tackles, Alexander set the tone on Minnesota’s second offensive series when he blocked Thielen back into fellow receiver Stefon Diggs on a bubble screen. The play resulted in a loss of 10 yards and set up a three-and-out.
It’s a big spot for the Packers’ rookie first-round pick to be thrust into, but necessary with Kevin King and Bashaud Breeland both inactive Sunday. For Alexander, he saw the benefit in matching up against a top-flight receiver like Thielen.
“It taught me a lot in the moment,” Alexander said. “He had some vet moves out there. He’s pretty crafty. He’s a good receiver.”