MINNEAPOLIS — If Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst's idea behind using a first round pick on a quarterback was to get Aaron Rodgers playing with a chip on his shoulder, it seems to have worked.
Rodgers picked apart Minnesota's youthful cornerbacks to the tune of 364 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 43-34 statement victory Sunday, Sept. 13, over the team most believe to the Packers' biggest threat for the NFC North title.
"I think we made too many mistakes, obviously," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. "We didn't cover them very good. I know we gave up some big plays."
The Vikings had no answer for Rodgers' targets, whether it was lead receiver Davante Adams (14 catches for 156 yards) or the lesser-heralded Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Allen Lazard. Third-year corners Holton Hill and Mike Hughes were often left behind by their marks, while rookie Cameron Dantzler did not fare any better.
"I just try to treat everyone the same and dictate the game (on my terms)," Adams said. "Having some less experienced guys out there guarding me, I think they might be susceptible to different things because they haven't seen me in person much, so I try to use that to my advantage."
The game remained fairly level until the final minute of the second quarter. After Rodgers found Adams to give Green Bay an eight-point lead, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an interception to Jaire Alexander on the following drive to set up Valdes-Scantling's 45-yard score.
Rodgers continued to show his Hall of Fame credentials in the second half, hitting Lazard and Adams again to keep the game out of reach.
"We had some good drives in the first half where we didn't cash in early, then we got into a really nice rhythm," Rodgers said. "Anytime you're punting one time, you're having a really good day."
Green Bay's sustained drives largely kept the Vikings offense off the field. While racking up 522 total yards on offense, the Packers dominated the time-of-possession battle, holding the ball for more than 41 minutes.
"Time of possession was not very good... luckily, we had one goal line stand. Otherwise, it would have been really ugly," Zimmer said.
Cousins completed 19 of 25 passes for 259 yards, mostly while playing from behind after halftime. His favorite target was Adam Thielen, who caught six passes for 110 yards and both of Minnesota's receiving touchdowns.
Dalvin Cook, in his first game since signing a five-year contract extension, scored twice on 12 carries and 50 yards. Backup Alexander Mattison also had 50 yards rushing and added 30 yards on four catches.
The game was played in a largely vacant U.S. Bank Stadium, where fans will not be admitted for at least the team's first two home games.