GB-MIN grades: Bradford-Diggs connection lifts Vikings past Packers

Top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings's home win over the Packers in Week 2.

| 9 months ago
Vikings QB Sam Bradford

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

GB-MIN grades: Bradford-Diggs connection lifts Vikings past Packers

Minnesota Vikings 17, Green Bay Packers 14

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from Minnesota’s 17-14 win over Green Bay in the first home game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Green Bay Packers

Quarterback grade: Aaron Rodgers, 33.0

Aaron Rodgers earns lowest game grade of career

Not much can describe Aaron Rodgers’ performance other than it being one of—if not the—worst outing of his career. At halftime, Rodgers had just 13 of his 59 passing yards come through the air. He finished the game having completed just 4-of-14 passes targeted 10+ yards downfield. On passes where the ball was out by 2.5 seconds, he completed 18-of-27 passes with an NFL QB rating of 93.8. On dropbacks that lasted more than 2.5 seconds, he completed just two-of-nine attempts on 17 dropbacks, and had a passer rating of 12.0. Most uncharacteristic of Rodgers, though, were his turnover-worthy plays. He fumbled three times, two of which the offense was lucky to recover, threw a slant pass straight to Terence Newman in the red zone (only to have the interception dropped), and then tossed the pick to Trae Waynes in the final two minutes.

Aaron Rodgers passing under pressure versus Vikings

Aaron Rodgers passing under pressure

Top offensive grades

RG T.J. Lang, 81.3

LT David Bakhtiari, 78.1

RT Bryan Bulaga, 77.1

WR Jordy Nelson, 73.6

RB Eddie Lacy, 69.2

Green Bay offensive line does its part in pass protection

Even though Rodgers was forced to leave the pocket quite a bit, many times he was forced to hold the ball as receivers struggled to get open, instead of it being on the offensive line. In all, both tackles and Lang played pretty well, and the starting unit allowed just six pressures on 51 pass plays. LT David Bakhtiari entered the game having gone 463 snaps in pass protection without allowing a sack, the longest current streak for a left tackle, but had that snapped versus the Vikings, with his only pressure allowed for the night. LG Lane Taylor allowed two hurries, and had a below-average grade as a run blocker. The Packers couldn’t get much going in the run game outside of a couple good attempts, and 30 of Eddie Lacy’s 50 rushing yards came after contact.

Top defensive grades

OLB Julius Peppers, 86.8

DE Mike Daniels, 85.0

LB Jake Ryan, 84.6

OLB Nick Perry, 80.6

CB Quinten Rollins, 80.5

Front-seven solid in loss; secondary fails to hold up its end

The front-seven for the Packers held up their end of the bargain swimmingly Sunday night, while the secondary slipped up again and again. Green Bay pressured Sam Bradford on a ridiculous 48.6 percent of his dropbacks, despite a 2.41 second average time to attempt. On those plays, though, the Vikings’ quarterback still carved up the Packers corners, going 9-for-13 for 89 yards and two touchdowns. CB Damarious Randall—last week’s highest-graded CB—obviously took the brunt of it, allowing seven-of-eight targets for 161 yards and a touchdown, earning the lowest grade of any cornerback this week (excluding Monday Night Football).

Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback grade: Sam Bradford, 87.5

New arrival Sam Bradford better than advertised

Most people at home likely expected Sam Bradford to have some rust in his first start after only two weeks of practice in Minnesota. Those people, including myself, were wrong. On 31 targeted passes, Bradford recorded an adjusted completion percentage of 81.5, the fourth-highest of any quarterback so far this week. His touchdown to Stefon Diggs—with Mike Daniels bearing down in his face—was one of the best throws I saw all weekend. Going toe-to-toe with a player many consider to be the best quarterback in the NFL, Bradford had 12 fewer plays take downgrades than the Packers’ quarterback.

Sam Bradford passing under pressure versus Packers

Sam Bradford under pressure

Top offensive grades

WR Stefon Diggs, 90.1

LG Alex Boone, 78.5

TE Kyle Rudolph, 73.8

C Joe Berger, 61.8

RB Adrian Peterson, 60.5

Stefon Diggs fuels otherwise stagnant offense

There’s only one true performance of note on the Vikings’ offense outside of Bradford, and that’s Stefon Diggs. The second-year receiver caught all nine of his targets for a ridiculous 182 yards and a touchdown. When the game was on the line, and everyone in the building knew the Vikings were going back to Diggs, he forced a pass interference penalty to essentially ice the game. The second-year receiver truly carried the offense, as Minnesota only averaged 2.1 yards per play on snaps he didn’t touch the ball.

Top defensive grades

LB Anthony Barr, 84.5

CB Captain Munnerlyn, 84.4

DT Linval Joseph, 82.6

LB Eric Kendricks, 80.8

S Harrison Smith, 80.7

CB Trae Waynes’ redemption seals the victory

Overall, it was a solid outing by the Vikings’ defense, with seven players grading above 80.0. LB Eric Kendricks had a pass defense and a couple quick tackles on short passes to earn one of the highest coverage grades on the Minnesota defense, but he did miss a tackle in the run game. DT Linval Joseph continues to be an excellent run stopper, picking up three run stops and disrupting the point of attack on a couple other plays. The one exception to the defense playing well was CB Trae Waynes, who was competing with Packers CB Damarious Randall for the worst coverage outing of the week—that is, before his interception at the end of the game. Waynes gave up seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, and also was penalized three times in coverage. He finished on a high note, with the pick to seal the win.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Vikings WR Stefon Diggs

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • GBPFan12

    Great win vikes, did it without your QB/HB/DT/CB.
    Anyways, be nice to see some timing routes come back to this offense, enough with the jittery scrambling nonsense. Hopefully this game is a wake up call for Rodgers to get back on track.

  • Rolo Tomassi

    34th rated QB in the league

  • crosseyedlemon

    Rodgers had a rough game but the Packers defense shutdown Peterson (just 19 yards on 12 carries) so it results in a wash. I anticipate another close battle when they meet before Christmas and that one should determine who prevails in the NFC North.


      and the Vikings did it without two starters in Xavier Rhodes and Shariff Floyd.

      • Luke

        Packers played without two starters too… S.Shields and M.Pennel.

        • Garrett Austin

          Vikes also did it without their starting quarterback.

          • Luke

            Touche; however, an argument could be made that S.Bradford is an upgrade (as a pocket passer) over T.Bridgewater.

          • Tommy

            no kidding.

  • 81TinaKane

    Im curious how the packers oline graded out so high giving up 5 sacks and numerous hits on Rodgers while the Vikings oline graded out so low and rightfully so. Also a number of other sites had Waynes giving up 6 catches for 69 yards on 14 attempts so I am curious were this site got the 98 yards number. That being said, Waynes is young an often was in the right position to make the play so he may have gotten a bit grabby but its not like he was burned. If I were the Vikings I would have Sully in winter park today working out and move Berger back to right guard because Fusco was being man handled. Hopefully Harris comes back soon as well. Kahlil at this point is what he is, a very average LT, who is often hurt, Im glad that he plays hurt but I think hes nothing more the average. Sammy B stood in there and delivered strikes that Teddy had never done. It would be nice to see CPat touch the ball more and get Treadwell in on some of the action as well.

    • Luke

      “Im curious how the packers oline graded out so high giving up 5 sacks and numerous hits on Rodgers while the Vikings oline graded out so low and rightfully so.”

      A.Rodgers holding the ball way too long will put the fault onto himself.

      • Antileftist

        Packer’s receivers were covered well, Rodgers often had no one to throw to.

        • Luke

          That doesn’t change the fact that the O-line provided adequate protection of an appropriate length of time for a QB to throw the ball. If the WRs or the offensive scheme is truly at fault for not providing A.Rodgers a target to throw to is besides the point when determining the grade for the O-Line.

          • Tommy

            Rodgers is stuck with McCarthy and his stupid, predictable offensive play calling. The guy hasn’t generated anything in two years, other teams completely know what GB is running or trying to do 90% of the time. You can’t have an offense that relies on gimmick plays, free plays, and precise back shoulder throws.

    • Matthew

      Both of our offensive tackles were complete sieves, I wish Kalil was average.

  • Arthur Jackson

    Bradford looked really good on a number of passes. The touchdown to Rudolph and a number of the passes to Diggs were perfectly placed. Rodgers used to do that, but hasn’t for awhile now and that was the difference.

  • al4000

    Rodgers’ mechanics have quietly slipped the last couple of seasons. Not sharp like they used to be. Questionable decision making. Surprised more analysts haven’t been talking about this, but there are favorites, as we all know.

    • ANonnaMoose

      They would have to stop kissing his ass for 30 seconds in order to call him out on those sorts of things.

  • Joe Doe

    So my question is, are the offensive woes more on Rodgers or McCarthy? For this discussion let’s try and limit it to these two rather than the other offensive players.

    Rodgers certainly has had his issues missing routine throws, holding the ball too long, and his ball security was embarrassing against the Vikings. His timing with his players only seems to be with Nelson, who doesn’t appear to be at 100% yet.

    On McCarthy’s end, they seem to run 3 wr, 1 te, and 1 rb too often. Analysts have suggested that their offense has been figured out, and that trying to do the same as they did in 2011 with different personnel just may be like trying to get your Toyota Camry to perform like a Porsche. Running all iso routes with no (legal) picks seems to be the Achilles heel.

    Your thoughts? Is it Rodgers or McCarthy to blame?