Packers run defense faces tough challenge against Vikings in Week 2
The Green Bay Packers’ run defense faces a tough challenge against the Minnesota Vikings this week.
In Week 1, the Green Bay Packers allowed just 46 yards on the ground in a dominant defensive performance. The Minnesota Vikings’ offense, in contrast, rushed for 172 yards against the Atlanta Falcons, third-most in the NFL prior to the Monday night games.
Stopping the run will be the Packers’ top priority and something they’ll need to accomplish if they plan to remain undefeated after the Vikings visit Lambeau Field in Week 2.
The Vikings’ season opener was a pretty good example of how they want to play on offense. The Vikings found the end zone four times, scoring 28 points on the Falcons’ defense. But Kirk Cousins only threw the football 10 times in the game.
That’s a commitment to the run. The Vikings ran the ball 38 times. Dalvin Cook led the way with 21 of those attempts for 111 yards and two touchdowns. It was a dominant performance by Cook, who’s finally fully healthy. If the Packers can’t find a way to stop him this week, it’ll be a long afternoon.
Rookie Alexander Mattison also impressed on his nine attempts, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
The Packers faced a similarly tough challenge at Soldier Field last week up against a rushing attack featuring talented rookie David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis. Surprisingly, the Bears only had 15 rushing attempts all game, and only 11 combined for Montgomery and Davis. Cohen had zero.
Part of that could be because the Packers stopped the run effectively — Chicago averaged just 3.1 yards per attempt. Davis had the longest run of eight yards.
Led by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in his second year in Green Bay, the defense was as fast as we’ve seen in quite some time. Kenny Clark was dominant up front, while new signings Preston and Za’Darius Smith showed why the Packers signed them in free agency. Blake Martinez played his part with a team-leading seven tackles and a sack. Raven Greene also impressed with six tackles.
The Packers will need that performance to carry over in what could be another low-scoring game.
Minnesota’s defense allowed just 12 points against a high-powered Atlanta offense, and also forced three turnovers and sacked Matt Ryan four times. Green Bay’s offense is still new and may struggle to find consistency in this game.
It’ll be up to the run defense to stop Minnesota playing the way it wants to, and put the game in the hands of Kirk Cousins.
If the Packers can stop the run effectively, they’ll give themselves a great opportunity of starting the season 2-0.