Packers vs. Vikings final score: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams maul Minnesota in crucial Week 1 battle

Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, and the Minnesota Vikings wish that weren't the case. In a 43-36 dismantling by the Green Bay Packers at US Bank Stadium on Sunday, the Vikings truly did give their NFC North rival a run for their money for much of the first half. But when Rodgers turned on his clutch gene to close out the second quarter, it hinted at things being too little, too late for a struggling Kirk Cousins -- asking him to suddenly shoot it out with Rodgers while lacking the firepower to do so. 

What was an 8-7 contest at one point rapidly devolved into a blowout, even though the final score implies otherwise, thanks to a scrappy Vikings team who must lick their wounds and try to reboot for Week 2. The Packers are heading back to Green Bay wearing nothing but smiles, knowing they're starting the 2020 NFL season with a 1-0 record, making it a twofer when factoring it who they defeated to take the victory. 

It's the most points ever given up by a Mike Zimmer team, leaving the head coach much to chew on the next several days.

Why the Packers won

Aaron Rodgers + Davante Adams = Demolition

There's plenty of ways to explain why the Packers walked away with a win in Minnesota, but it truly came down to the dominance of this combo. Rodgers was visibly frustrated over much of the first half, and credit the Vikings defense for being a key reason. They bent often but didn't break initially, forcing Rodgers into grabbing only six points on his first three red zone visits. The wheels came off from there though, with Rodgers throwing for two touchdowns in 25 seconds to close out the second half. He never looked back from there, as he helped lift Adams to a monster game -- reeling in 14 catches for 156 yards with two touchdowns.

By the way, Rodgers was also not sacked all game, despite losing two offensive lineman to injury during the game.

Why the Vikings lost

See above, but also below.

Half of the reason for this loss is on the shoulders of a defensive unit who started out on fire in defending the red zone, but quickly got turned inside-out with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter. That put more pressure on Kirk Cousins to perform after halftime, but that was asking a lot, considering he wasn't doing well before it. Cousins went 3 of 5 for only 54 yards with no touchdowns and an interception in the first two quarters of play, and it took a 37-yard touchdown pass to Thielen to make his stat line presentable. All told, the lack of clock control by the Vikings offense ultimately gassed the defense, and the rest was cake for Rodgers.

Turning Point

It was quite the defensive back-and-forth before Rodgers broke the huddle on 2nd-and-9 with only 48 seconds remaining in the first half, and up by just one point. That's when he morphed into something alien as the clutch gene took full hold of his body, because this throw is ... wow. 

It's the play that sent the Packers rocket into launch mode, and what happened next put it into orbit.

Play of the Game 

Unreal.

It took all of 25 seconds for the Vikings to see Cousins throw an interception and give Rodgers another chance at doing what he does best, and so he did, by closing out the half with yet another touchdown blast -- this time to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Vikings never recovered from the onslaught. 

All hail WR1 

"DavantBae Adams is the best WR in the NFL." - NFL fantasy football insider Nate Hamilton

What's next

The Packers now face another all-important divisional match in Week 2 when they host the Detroit Lions, while the Vikings head to Lucas Oil Stadium to try and right the ship against the Indianapolis Colts.

Catch all the highlights and action from you might've missed in the live blog below.

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SUN 1:00 P
MIN -1.5, o44.5
FOX
MIN -1.5, O/U 44.5

Season Leaders

passing
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A. Rodgers 2889 YD, 29 TDS, 4 INTS
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A. Rodgers 2889 YD, 29 TDS, 4 INTS
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K. Cousins 2461 YD, 20 TDS, 11 INTS
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K. Cousins 2461 YD, 20 TDS, 11 INTS
rushing
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A. Jones 113 ATT, 534 YD, 6 TDS
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A. Jones 113 ATT, 534 YD, 6 TDS
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D. Cook 201 ATT, 1069 YD, 13 TDS
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D. Cook 201 ATT, 1069 YD, 13 TDS
receiving
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D. Adams 68 REC, 847 YD, 10 TDS
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D. Adams 68 REC, 847 YD, 10 TDS
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J. Jefferson 45 REC, 848 YD, 4 TDS
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J. Jefferson 45 REC, 848 YD, 4 TDS
Live updates
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And there it is:

Lane Taylor is ruled OUT with a knee injury.

September 13, 2020, 7:45 PM
@packers via Twitter
September 13, 2020, 7:44 PM

Scary sight when Lane Taylor remained on the ground and trainers rushed to his side. He was carted off the field, but walked to the cart under his own power. Given how much time remains in the game, it's likely he won't return -- even if he's OK to do so. That said, the Packers will hope for great news later on, given they've already lost Lucas Patrick as well.

September 13, 2020, 7:44 PM

Thielen helping his QB out with a great grab, but also a great throw by Cousins. That deep shot is what the VIkings desperately needed and finally got, closing the gap to 11 points after a successful two-point conversion to Dalvin Cook. With a 29-18 score, this game just got a bit more life, and the pressure is on the Packers to answer the touchdown with one of their own -- or risking shifting momentum toward Minnesota.

Rodgers and Adams are on fire. Will the Vikings adjust to stop them and keep hope alive?

Can they???

September 13, 2020, 7:30 PM

Want to know how big of a day Davante Adams is having against the Vikings?

  • 13 receptions 
  • 15 targets
  • 116 yards receiving 
  • 2 touchdowns

I'm going to go ahead and say that's pretty freaking decent, folks. #SkunkRule

September 13, 2020, 7:22 PM

Rodgers has a ton of confidence in Valdes-Scantling and it's evident there. He drops two passes -- both crucial plays -- and Rodgers goes right back to him for a 39-yard gain. If you're the young wideout, you love to feel that from your veteran QB. Rodgers could've easily waved him off the rest of the game and aimed the bullets elsewhere.

Great grab that time and much needed for MVS.

September 13, 2020, 7:21 PM

It's time to start wondering if the decision to trade Stefon Diggs was a smart one. Granted, this is a small sample size, but unless someone steps up and becomes that definitive deep threat to help complement the underneath prowess of Adam Thielen, it's going to be a long season for Cousins -- who is 6/10 for 66 yards and no touchdowns with an interception.

The Packers defense simply isn't afraid of the Vikings receivers, nor will anyone be going forward unless someone steps up as a speed guy who can punish safeties and corners with straight line speed.

September 13, 2020, 7:17 PM

That's another drop for Valdes-Scantling. Tough catch, sure, but he gator armed it. Had he extended fully, it falls right into his hands, and that's why Rodgers is shaking his head after the play. The Packers lead 22-10, but this could truly be a blowout by this point in the game if not for some drops and mistakes by other Packers on the offense (including Rodgers himself w/ the intentional grounding in the first half).

Vikings still aren't taking advantage, though.

September 13, 2020, 7:16 PM
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