After an offseason that saw a lot of changes for the Minnesota Vikings defense, they faced a stiff task in Week 1 against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
In Week 1, the Minnesota Vikings hosted their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, inside U.S. Bank Stadium. New Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell was looking to start off his career with a bang, and he did just that. His team came ready to play, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
For a unit that had to learn an entirely new scheme and integrate new players, the Vikings’ defense looked very good. New Minnesota defensive coordinator Ed Donatell had his group ready to play and they shut down the Packers’ offense for large parts of the game
Former Green Bay Packers linebacker shines for Minnesota Vikings in Week 1
The biggest improvement Minnesota made in the offseason was their defensive front, and they dominated against the Packers in Week 1.
Former Packers edge rusher Za’Darius Smith was the big free-agent signing for Minnesota earlier this year. Against his old team in Week 1, he finished with one sack, one tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits in addition to helping create pressure on almost every snap.
Smith’s performance against Green Bay showed why the Vikings invested so much in him this offseason even though he was coming off of a significant injury.
Having Smith and Danielle Hunter healthy will big a massive boost for Minnesota this season. Couple this with defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips, and the Vikings boast one of the best defensive fronts in the entire NFL.
Minnesota limited the Packers’ offense to just seven points in Week 1. The Vikings’ defense ended the game with four sacks, one interception, and one fumble recovery.
Apart from a blown coverage on Green Bay’s first offensive play of the game that saw rookie wideout Christian Watson drop a probable touchdown reception, Minnesota’s secondary had a solid game.
The Vikings also held the Packers to 3-for-9 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth down in their Week 1 matchup. When it mattered most against Green Bay, Minnesota’s defense held up.