Packers: 5 takeaways from the loss to Vikings in Week 11

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers - Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers - Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers drop to 8-3 after a 34-31 defeat on the road at the hands of the NFC North-rival Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers offense gave the team a chance in this one, topping the Vikings in total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, and yards per play (8.6). The defense just looked out of sorts and couldn’t hang with an impressive offensive display from the Vikings for four quarters.

The downside is that injuries continue to pile up for the Packers, this time losing Swiss-army knife Elgton Jenkins for the remainder of the year with an ACL tear. At this point in the season, it’s just next man up – but for goodness sake the bleeding has to stop at some point right? You can only put a band-aide on a bullet hole so many times, but I digress.

So, without further ado, after a re-watch of the game, here are my five takeaways from the Week 11 loss to Minnesota.

Aaron Rodgers did what Aaron Rodgers does

Once he was able to settle in, Aaron Rodgers put on a passing clinic in Minnesota. Rodgers completed 23/33 pass attempts for 385 yards and four touchdowns.

Rodgers made some incredible throws off platform, and looked every bit the part of MVP Aaron on Sunday – it just wasn’t quite enough on a day where the defense uncharacteristically struggled.

With Rodgers not being able to practice on a regular basis due to injury, it was encouraging to see 12 play the way he did – because they’re going to be relying heavily on their star quarterback to carry them.

Yosh Nijman just became a very important man

When the Packers entered training camp, offensive tackle Yosh Nijman was battling to prove that he belonged on an NFL roster. Now, due to the loss of Elgton Jenkins, Nijman is the starting left tackle on the Green Bay Packers.

David Bakhtiari is still on the mend, with no definitive timetable for his return, making Nijman a very, very important man – at least in the short term.

Can he continue to hold up against some of the league’s best pass rushers? Who knows for sure, but he looked good in limited opportunity against Minnesota. Nijman didn’t look rusty and was more than ready when they called his name on Sunday.

Watch Nijman’s rep against Everson Griffen on the 75-yard touchdown to MVS, because that play doesn’t happen without the former undrafted free agent.

This will be a good litmus test for Nijman to evaluate him for the future. At worst, Nijman looks like a great swing-tackle for the Packers beyond this season.

MVS looked like a starting wide receiver

Speaking of MVS’ 75-yard touchdown catch, he enjoyed his best game of the season on Sunday. In total, MVS saw seven targets, which was a season high and turned that into four catches for 123 yards and a score.

In the final year of his contract, one has to think the Packers are considering an extension in the off-season because he’s gone from one-trick pony to well-rounded wideout. He’s become a more natural pass catcher and is running routes that make him an option as a possession receiver rather than just a deep threat.

If he continues this upward trajectory of development, the Packers would be wise to keep him around beyond this season, because his top-end speed is exactly that – top end. MVS is beginning to look like a legitimate starting NFL receiver, and for a fifth-round investment, it’s hard to ask for more than that.

Preston Smith was a force

I’ll make this one short and sweet, because in a week where the Packers were without their top pass rusher in Rashan Gary, Preston Smith rose to the occasion.

On the day, Preston Smith registered two sacks, three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.

Brian Gutekunst finding a way to keep him on the team this year rather than cut bait has proven to be a brilliant move for the Packers GM.

Kevin King/Eric Stokes struggled mightily

The Packers secondary struggled on Sunday, more particularly Kevin King and Eric Stokes.

Between the two corners, they allowed nine catches on 12 targets for total 179 yards. Both corners were late off of their breaks and Stokes in particular struggled to find the ball when his back was to it.

Listen, they can’t all be gems – but you can flush this tape from the Packers duo because it was rough to watch. Stokes was expected to take his lumps this season, so this will without a doubt serve as a learning opportunity for the promising young corner.

Next. Packers are home to one of the league's top pass-rushing duos. dark