MIN-GB grades: Rodgers on fire as Packers roll over Vikings
Green Bay Packers 38, Minnesota Vikings 25
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Green Bay Packers’ 38-25 Week 16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings:
Quarterback grade: Sam Bradford, 75.2
Bradford’s play and grade improved during garbage time
While Vikings QB Sam Bradford has only maintained good health long enough to reach Week 16 three of the past six seasons, garbage time efforts enabled him to attempt 50 or more passes and post 380-plus passing yards in Week 16 of the past two seasons. However, the numbers must be qualified to the product of the desperate game situation — in other words, grains of salt abound.
Top offensive grades:
WR Adam Thielen, 83.9
RT Jeremiah Sirles, 77.2
C Joe Berger, 73.1
TE Kyle Rudolph, 75.0
WR Stefon Diggs, 61.2
The Adam Thielen show for the Vikings
While a large majority of the Vikings offense was accumulated during garbage time, that was not the case for WR Adam Thielen. While the Minnesota State University product found success within each of the Packers’ defenders’ coverage, he simply torched second-year CB Quinten Rollins – resulting in 122 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven targets.
Top defensive grades:
LB Anthony Barr, 88.3
LB Eric Kendricks, 84.3
DI Linval Joseph, 77.6
ED Danielle Hunter, 71.8
CB Xavier Rhodes, 51.9
Vikings secondary dismantled
The linebacker duo of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks seemingly warped throughout Lambeau Field and into the forefront of nearly every play. Barr would record four defensive stops, a quarterback hit, one pressure, and limited his four coverage receptions to an average of five yards after the catch. Kendricks collected an impressive trio of sacks, six solo tackles, a team-high five defensive stops, and held his coverage responsibilities to under two yards after the catch per target.
Quarterback grade: Aaron Rodgers, 93.1
Rodgers king in the north
Love him or hate him, a Hall of Fame induction is a mere formality for the former Golden Bear, Aaron Rodgers. In fact, only the Patriots’ own future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, can hold a candle to the play from Rodgers since Week 7 of this season. Rodgers and Brady have left the competition in the dust over that time, with Rodgers passing for 26 touchdowns to only three interceptions, and doing so with a 77.1 adjusted completion percentage. Rodgers saved his best effort of the season to avenge the Week 2 loss to Minnesota, posting his best grade, and recording a passer rating greater than 135.7 within a clean pocket, when under pressure, and when blitzed.
Top offensive grades:
WR Jordy Nelson, 86.1
RG T.J. Lang, 79.9
LT David Bakhtiari, 79.4
WR Geronimo Allison, 77.4
C Corey Linsley, 75.7
Receiving unit far more than a complement
It would be a safe bet to assume that WR Jordy Nelson is 100 percent healthy after missing all of 2015 due to a knee injury. The Packers’ coaching brass schemed for Nelson to rotate his positioning on the field and resulted in him collecting 9-of-11 targets, 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns. However, the numbers also reflect that Nelson recorded receptions within seven different defenders’ coverage. The other notable effort at receiver came from the rookie wideout out of Illinois, Geronimo Allison, who managed to develop a noticeable timing between he and Rodgers and, if a sign of things to come, could accelerate the Packers toward a serious championship run.
Top defensive grades:
ED Clay Matthews, 87.7
CB Damarious Randall, 80.2
LB Jake Ryan, 79.1
CB Micah Hyde, 78.8
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 77.0
Tale of two halves
Several defenders played well against the Vikings, but the overall play would diminish during the fourth quarter, and the one consistent performance that stood out above all was submitted by edge defender Clay Matthews. Easily recording his top grade of the season, Matthews recorded a strip-sack, three other pressures, two batted passes, and three defensive stops. A portion of the blame for the late collapse can be accounted for by the defensive change to a prevent defense after building an imposing lead.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, 93.1
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