MIN-GB Grades: Griffen, pass rush rattle Rodgers

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings’ 20-13 victory over the Packers.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MIN-GB Grades: Griffen, pass rush rattle Rodgers

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings’ 20-13 victory over the Packers:

Green Bay Packers

– If the Packers are to advance in Washington next weekend, they must have David Bakhtiari back at left tackle. After Don Barclay’s disastrous performance last week in Arizona, left guard Josh Sitton (-2.8) stepped outside and put up a better fight, but still surrendered pivotal plays to Vikings’ DE Everson Griffen. Not helped by the play calling or the game situation, Sitton was asked to pass protect 54 times in a game where the Packers struggled to get production, even though Eddie Lacy ran the ball well and their interior offensive line had some success against the Vikings’ re-tooled defensive tackle pairing.

– Five pressures (one sack, four hurries) saw Clay Matthews earn his first positive pass rush grade (+2.3) since Week 12, yet again showing where Matthews can have the greatest impact on the Packers’ defense. Despite this productive showing as a pass rusher, Matthews still earned a negative overall grade (-0.5), struggling to get off blocks in the run game, missing a tackle, and getting flagged for a penalty after getting worked back by Michael Harris. More opportunities off the edge working with Julius Peppers in the passing game could yet give this Packers’ defense a postseason spark.

– A tough end to the season for Aaron Rodgers (-0.8), who earned his second straight negative game grade. Early in the season, Rodgers looked like he could overcome injuries and absences around him, but over the course of the year, that has caught up to him, and he even contributed to struggles around him last night. After the beating he took last week, you couldn’t necessarily blame him for happy feet, but the combination of excessive movement around the pocket and hanging in the flat trying to make plays on scramble drills saw Rodgers charged for a season-high eight pressures (one sack, five hits, two hurries), more than any of his linemen gave up on an individual basis.

Top performers:

TE Richard Rodgers (+4.6)
HB Eddie Lacy (+3.0)
RG T.J. Lang (+2.9)
LG Lane Taylor (+2.7)
S Micah Hyde (+1.8)


Minnesota Vikings

– Composure and not making bad mistakes in the right moment will be crucial if Teddy Bridgewater (-3.7) is to lead the Vikings past the Seahawks next weekend, and while he clinched the NFC North title this week, Bridgewater came up with two crucial errors that could have turned the game. A left-handed pass out of the grasp of a defender was picked by Micah Hyde (+1.8), and then a fumble on a handoff to Adrian Peterson at the end of the game are the kind of plays that can see teams fall out of the playoffs very quickly, and Vikings fans will hope Bridgewater “got those out of his system” this week.

– The first of those mistakes by Bridgewater was bailed out by one of Everson Griffen’s (+3.5) nine pressures on the night, as he rounded Josh Sitton to hit the arm of Aaron Rodgers as he threw, forcing a fumble which Captain Munnerlyn (+1.0) scooped up to set up the Vikings’ 20-3 lead. With Green Bay shuffling the pack at left tackle, the onus was on Griffen to come up with a game-changing performance, and he did not disappoint against the run or pass, with his third-highest graded game of the season, and his most productive in terms of sacks (two), total pressures (nine), and stops (four).

– Michael Harris’ surprising season came unraveled a little against the Packers back in Week 11, with his lowest-graded game of the year (-3.2). He made amends last night, however, finishing the regular season with his third game earning a grade of +2.0 or above. One of the surprises of this year, Harris’ early season-form was built on his pass protection, but it is his run blocking that has been his strength late in the season, combining well once again with C Joe Berger (+1.7) last night to drive the Packers’ defensive linemen off the ball and create space for Adrian Peterson.

Top performers:

CB Xavier Rhodes (+4.2)
LB Anthony Barr (+4.1)
DE Everson Griffen (+3.5)
RG Michael Harris (+2.6)
LB Eric Kendricks (+2.3)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Craig W

    Look at those names on defense for the Vikes. I hope they can keep them all together for years to come. Rhodes and Griffen were unbelievable last night.

    • dlund6cutler

      That’s what happens when you draft well.

    • Tommy

      dude? they were covering the slowest skill group in the universe! Jones still had a pretty good day even though he is fat and slow. McCrappy won’t use Janis as a WR even as a threat as he is so stubborn or just plain touched….

  • Steven Macks

    Good to see Kendricks grading out well. He’s had an up-and-down year but looked like he was on his game last night.

    • Craig W

      The LB core is solid going forward. Add a young 2 down LB and we are set. This defense might be scary good in the years coming if they continue to improve.

  • Samuel Myers

    Green Bay ran 26 times for 76 yards, Lacy had 13 carries for 34 yards with a long run of 11 yards. How in the world does that qualify someone for a +3.0 grade (unless he was just absolutely stellar in pass pro and forced an absurd number of missed tackles)? How does it indicate any success on the part of the interior offensive line?

    • Mister Egge

      Pretty sure they just watched the first 2 quarters, where Lacy seemed to be doing well. But it was pretty clear that he lost any will to run, and was absolutely horrid in the second half. These numbers make you scratch your head some times…

    • Leonard McCoy

      Did standing up at a standstill tug-of-war match add to Lacy’s total? 23 carries and 34 yards = -100.0 points on our system.

      • WL- Minneapolis

        I doubt McCarthy agreed with the PFF assessment. I seemed like Lacy was benched in the second half in favor of Starks.

    • SeattleSteve

      Dude had at least 20 yards taken back cause of his doofus oline holding when they’re nowhere near the run lane.

    • Famfirst

      I think GB pulls Lacy half way through games because he is like a chunky kid that gets winded after two laps around the playground.

    • Tommy

      He had several carries where as soon as he was handed the ball, a lineman whiffed the block and he got buried in the backfield for big neg. runs. He also had a few tough,nails type short yardage runs where he picked up 3rd and 2 or less runs, with one great cut back, broken tackles play that was called back due to holding on his center. I’d guess they figured those plays in his grade. He did take GB right down the field on the first drive with a constant heavy dose of Lacy, when Lacy went out, the drive stalled and ended with a FG. After that, his touches were spotty, just like the scheme and play calling of head coach McCrappy.

  • Leonard McCoy

    Bridgewater look very nervous. That fumble was ridiculous.

    • Craig W

      Dude won on the road in GB for the division title. I don’t care if he craps his pants vs Seattle as long as he gets the same result.

      • Johnny Cash Guzman

        Did Bridgewater win with his 99 passing yards and 2 turnovers? Or did everyone around him win the game in spite of Bridgewater?

        • Tim Edell

          Dont get mad bro because Carr is home for the holidays!!

        • JH

          I agree with you assesment, but wanted to add that he only had one TO on his INT. The fumble was recovered by AP.

          Doesnt matter in the grand scheme, but thought I’d point it out.

  • dlund6cutler

    Both Bears and Lions fans are happy Green Bay didn’t win it… Nice job Rodgers

    • crosseyedlemon

      I’m not sure Bears fans care one way or the other and most are now following the Bulls and Blackhawks anyway.

    • Kason Edell

      your team is trash

      • dlund6cutler

        Oh yeah buddy Thanksgiving

        • Kason Edell

          If only you could’ve made the playoffs lmao

      • Patriotsbacktobackchamps

        Aaron Rodgers is playing like trash bitch can’t wait til the packers get a eliminated from the playoffs

        • Kason Edell

          Learn how to spell and use grammar, please.

  • dlund6cutler

    It’s funny how people always said cutler’s stats were better because of garbage time…oh wait isn’t that what Rodgers did this year.

    • SkolBro

      Go away… your team isn’t relevant.

      • crosseyedlemon

        George Halas founded the NFL and the Bears have more Hall of Famers than anyone….but they aren’t relevant? lmao!

        • Kason Edell

          they haven’t won a Super Bowl in 31 years

          • crosseyedlemon

            8 NFL championships are irrelevant too i guess….lol.

        • Brian

          Thank you every time I mention George Halas to new age NFL Fans they disrespect the man SMH

      • dlund6cutler

        What Vikings fan defends Rodgers.

  • Antileftist

    I am satisfied with the team’s performance this season. Obviously I’d like to see them advance in the playoffs, but I’m excited for them going forward. The combo of maturing stars on D is my primary reason for optimism. They could be one of the best if they continue to progress by getting a 2nd safety, and another great LB to replace Greenway. Not to mention the possibilities for improvement on the O-line when Sullivan and Loadholt come back next season. I expect to see a big leap for Teddy next season as long as the o-line improves as expected.
    I don’t know why the Vikes took TB over Derek Carr? Whether Carr didn’t want to come here, or Norv saw something he liked about TB over Carr, I’ll never know. If Carr had TB’s coaching, perhaps he doesn’t throw so many int’s. Who knows how he’d have done without an Amari Cooper type of receiver? But let’s face it, he just set a TD record for a team with great QB history. Lamonica, Stabler, Plunkett, Gannon, et al.