Packers vs. Vikings: Performances to watch

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

GREEN BAY – For the second year in a row, Week 2 features the Vikings coming to Lambeau Field.

Here are five performances to watch.

1. Dynamic duos, Part 1: For all the talk, rightfully so, about the Packers needing to stop Vikings RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota’s top pair of receivers against Green Bay’s top pair of cornerbacks is the matchup that has dictated outcomes between these teams lately. Adam Thielen has posted back-to-back seasons with 1,200-plus yards and Stefon Diggs had his first 1,000-yard campaign last year. Jaire Alexander and Kevin King held their own against them in Week 2 last year until King exited with an injury. It’s a quartet as intriguing as it gets in the NFC North.

2. Dynamic duos, Part 2: Minnesota is back to featuring Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter as its pass-rushing defensive ends after Griffen missed a handful of games last year for personal reasons. Prior to that, Griffen had double-digit sacks in three of the previous four seasons, and Hunter in two of the last three. They’ve both seen plenty of the Packers’ veteran offensive tackles, Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari, over the years. Lots of familiarity here. Bakhtiari is questionable with a back injury and could be a game-time decision.

3. The tight ends: The Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph didn’t have a reception last week as Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins attempted only 10 passes, but the veteran Notre Dame product has posted 50 yards receiving or more in eight of 14 career games against the Packers. Green Bay’s trio of Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan combined for six catches, 72 yards and a TD in Week 1. Graham’s touchdown is already half his total from last year, while Lewis’ two catches are one shy of his total for all of 2018.

4. The ground games: Minnesota’s got off to a great start in Week 1 with Cook going over 100 yards and rookie Alexander Mattison adding 49 more. Green Bay’s did not, as Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for just 39 rushing yards. The Packers are determined to get their run game going to open up play-action and keep the offense out of third-and-long after facing third-and-10-plus six times in Chicago, converting none (2-for-12 overall).

5. The kicking games: Last year’s overtime tilt ended in a tie because each team’s kickers missed game-winning chances. Minnesota’s Daniel Carlson missed two such opportunities (three kicks in all), lost his job, and replacement Dan Bailey had to fend off a training camp challenge. Green Bay’s Mason Crosby missed a long one that would have won the game, and he fought off a challenger for his job this summer as well. At punter, Minnesota signed a new one, Dustin Colquitt, right before the opener, and Green Bay’s JK Scott had a career night in Chicago.

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