Victory Monday! Good, Bad, and Ugly of Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

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James Starks gets plenty of running room with the offensive line clearing the way against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter Sunday night. Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Offensive Line — Who could have predicted that this offensive line of misfits would be playing at this high of a level already?

Two fourth-rounders, undrafted free agents and an off-season flip has given Most Improved honors to this squad. Aaron Rodgers was upright last night, folks. I am not going to say he wasn’t under some duress here and there; there are always going to be missed blocks or misread coverages.

ONE sack? ONE holding penalty? I liked what I saw.

They were creating a clean pocket for Rodgers to step up in and make plays with his arm and his feet. There were also creating GREAT running lanes all night.

Players were putting their opponents on the ground, not just pushing them aside. This line was much maligned in the past couple of seasons … they, and young LT David Bakhtiari are proving their worth and protecting our $130 million asset this year.

2. Running Backs — It was another special performance by these young running backs, creating another dynamic 1-2 punch duo in Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Lacy is the POWER to Starks’ SPEED. Stopping one does not mean you can stop the other; and the Vikings proved that they could stop neither last night.

It was fun to watch, it really was. Here’s a stat I wasn’t expecting: offensively, the Packers were 60 percent run and 40 pass pass last night. With AARON RODGERS. That is incredible to me. Even when the running game had a little trouble getting started, they stuck with it and kept finding ways to get Lacy the ball in space.

Another related note that is priming the Packers’ defense for a late run: The offense was on the field for 41 minutes last night. It was completely lopsided. They took up so much clock, the defense could have taken a nap in between. Lacy had 29 carries for 94 yards and Starks pounded the rock 7 times for 57 yards. Each had touchdowns on the night, with Starks breaking free for a 25-yard score.

Jordy Nelson
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jordy Nelson — is there anything this man cannot do? He was the lone receiver remaining from a dominating offensive scheme. He was double-teamed, he was being pressed and contained.

He just broke loose for two scores, one coming on a crossing route that went 70-plus yards. He made plays on third down when we needed them. He was spectacular.

Kudos to all the young wide receivers:  Jarrett Boykin, Myles White and Andrew Quarless who stepped up and all performed very well in the absence of the Big Three.

4. Aaron Rodgers — Our star quarterback was absolutely spectacular last night. He was 24-of-29, for 285 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He made plays with his legs, more than 30 yards rushing.

Posted a QB rating of 130 and put two line drive balls on a ROPE to Jordy Nelson for two scores; literally putting it in the ONLY place it could go, sending it whizzing by the ear hole of the defender.

It was a clinic he put on last night. He was comfortable in the pocket, he had presence ALL NIGHT. He extended plays, he did what it took to win. He makes everyone around him look better. His leadership abilities are being put to the test with these young, no-name offensive cogs, and he is rising to the challenge.

5. Micah Hyde — We can now retire Randall Cobb‘s returning duties, people. Stop looking, we found a replacement who is more than qualified to handle the responsibilities. Hyde shows great vision and patience. He is methodical. He had some great returns all night, most notably his 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. He is THE MAN.

6. Vikings fan wearing a bag on his head with a beard hole cut out. I don’t think this needs any explanation. Duck Dynasty meets disgruntled Viking.

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