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Game notes: After breaking his own record, Davante Adams still hungry for more history

Packers remain optimistic for potential late-season returns

Packers WR Davante Adams
Packers WR Davante Adams

GREEN BAY – Davante Adams isn't the type of player who often steps back to smell the roses in the middle of the football season, let alone an actual game.

But after it was announced on Sunday night that the five-time Pro Bowl receiver had just broken his own Packers record for most catches in a season, even Adams had to pause for a second.

"I had to say a prayer and kind of talk to 'The Man' after they announced the catches thing during the game just because it's special," Adams said. "I definitely don't take it for granted."

Adams was his same dominant self in Sunday's 37-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, catching 11 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. It was the fifth time in the last six games Adams had at least 100 yards and a TD.

Adams' 11 receptions put him at 117 on the season, surpassing the 115 catches he had a year ago. He also established a new career high of 1,498 receiving yards on Sunday, putting him just 21 behind Jordy Nelson's 7-year-old franchise record.

A bulk of Adams' production came during the first half, with his eight catches for 118 yards and the 11-yard touchdown propelling Green Bay's 20-3 lead at hafltime.

The Vikings mixed their coverages to try to contain the All-Pro but Head Coach Matt LaFleur moved Adams around quite a bit to combat double-teams and Cover-2 schemes. On Sunday, Adams lined up everywhere from in the backfield to the slot.

"What Davante's done is change the whole complex of our offense and the way teams play us," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I think Matt's done a nice job and the staff of adding complexity to our formations and also finding those concepts that work against two-high."

Adams, who came into the game with 652 receptions for 7,930 receiving yards and 72 touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2014, became the third player in league annals with at least 650 receptions, 8,000 receiving yards and 70 touchdown receptions in his first eight seasons (Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison).

In the process, Adams joined Donald Driver, James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe as the only players in team history with at least 8,000 receiving yards.

Afterwards, Adams already was thinking about what's next. While the Packers have locked up the top seed in the NFC playoffs, Adams is still hoping to play in next Sunday's regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions.

Most of that has to do with Adams wanting to stay sharp for the postseason, but he'd be lying if he said he wasn't motivated to topple his good friend, Nelson, for the top spot for most single-season receiving yards in Packers' history.

"Oh yeah, that's why I want to play," said Adams in jest. "Nah, that's not why, but I'd like to think playing a half or whatever it is, whatever we decide, I'll be able to take care of that.

"If I needed 200 yards or something like that, maybe we'd chill. But being so close to it, why not?"

Reinforcements on the way?: Rodgers has many fond memories of the 2013 winner-take-all NFC North matchup with the Chicago Bears, but among the biggest reasons is it was a return game for both him and Randall Cobb after lengthy absences.

The two ended up connecting on a 48-yard, game-winning touchdown to propel the Packers into the playoffs.

As the Packers prepare for another postseason run, Rodgers believes this year's team could receive a similar push should Cobb (core), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), linebacker Za'Darius Smith (back), cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) or center Josh Myers (knee) return in the coming weeks.

"I do think there's that psychological boost when you see a '69' or a '55' out there, '23,' see those guys return," Rodgers said. "It definitely means something, and I think those guys can take some comfort in that, as I did when I came back, that you're giving your teammates confidence by putting that jersey on and being back on the field."

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 17 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022.

Nice to meet you: The Packers turned to veteran David Moore as their returner on kickoffs and punts with rookie third-round pick Amari Rodgers on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

After busting a 21-yard punt return that marked Green Bay's longest this season, the 6-foot, 219-pound receiver drew praise from both LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers after the game.

Given how the season has gone for the Packers on the injury front, the Packers QB fittingly met Moore during the game.

"I met David on the sideline," said Rodgers of Moore, who signed to the practice squad on Thursday before being elevated to the gameday roster on Saturday. "He had a nice return for us, which got us 20-plus yards and a 15-yarder on the end (due to a penalty), so that was good."

It was an overall solid showing for Green Bay's special teams, with Mason Crosby going a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points.

Nowhere to run: After Dalvin Cook gashed the Packers for more than 200 total yards last year at Lambeau Field, Green Bay's defense knew it needed to put a halt to the Pro Bowl running back's production on Sunday.

Without the threat of Kirk Cousins behind center, the Packers devoted a lot of attention to Cook and were successful in limiting him to just 13 rushing yards on nine carries and no yards on three receptions.    

Cook's 13 rushing yards were his fewest in a game since he recorded just 12 rushing yards on nine attempts in a 25-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Nov. 18, 2018.

"We know his ability to carry the ball and make big plays at any given moment in the game," linebacker Preston Smith said. "We know we had to stop him. We know we had to make them one-dimensional and get them out of the run game and get them to passing and make them uncomfortable."

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