‘2-0 in the division:’ Packers ride Aaron Rodgers’ hot start to 21-16 win over Vikings
GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers threw two early touchdowns and the Green Bay Packers held on for a 21-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
On a day when the Packers honored late Hall of Famer Bart Starr at halftime, Rodgers put on quite a show — particularly early. Rodgers completed nine of his first 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 rating through the first quarter. He finished 22 of 34 for 209 yards.
The Packers improved to 2-0 under new coach Matt LaFleur after opening the NFL’s 100th season with a victory at rival Chicago. They also beat the Vikings (1-1) for the fifth time in the past seven games at Lambeau Field.
Kevin King intercepted Cousins late in the end zone to preserve the win.
Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook had a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It was the third-year back’s second consecutive game with over 100 yards rushing.
After throwing the ball just 10 times in the season opener, Kirk Cousins finished 14 of 32 with 230 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Rodgers and Davante Adams connected on a 39-yard completion on the Packers’ first offensive play and LaFleur’s offense was off and running. Rodgers found running back Jamaal Williams for a 15-yard touchdown to cap a four-play, 75-yard opening drive.
Minnesota had a chance to answer with at least a field goal, but Dan Bailey missed wide left on a 47-yard attempt with about 9 minutes to go in the opening quarter.
It took Green Bay’s offense all of 12 minutes to score more points (14) than it did in the season opener at Chicago (10).
After not seeing a single ball against the Bears, receiver Geronimo Allison gave the Packers a two-score advantage on a 12-yard strike from Rodgers.
Green Bay got the ball right back after defensive lineman Kenny Clark sacked Cousins, forcing a fumble. Dean Lowry recovered the ball and the Packers took over at the Vikings 33.
The Packers took a commanding 21-0 lead with 2 minutes to play in the first half on 2-yard run by Aaron Jones. Green Bay never scored again.
After rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a win last week against the Falcons, Cook broke out for a 75-yard score following a missed tackle by rookie safety Darnell Savage.
During halftime, the Green Bay Packers hosted a special ceremony, honoring the life of legendary Packers QB Bart Starr. Starr died at the age of 85 on Sunday, May 26, 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama after a period of failing health due to the stroke he had suffered earlier in 2014.
Starr played college football at the University of Alabama, and was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 17th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, where he played for them until 1971.
Starr was the only quarterback in NFL history to lead a team to three consecutive league championships (1965–1967). Starr led his team to victories in the first two Super Bowls: I and II.
As the Packers’ head coach, he was less successful, compiling a 52–76–3 (.408) record from 1975 through 1983.
Starr was named the Most Valuable Player of the first two Super Bowls, and during his career, earned four Pro Bowl selections. He won the league MVP award in 1966. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame in 1977. Starr has the highest postseason passer rating (104.8) of any quarterback in NFL history and a postseason record of 9–1. His career completion percentage of 57.4 was an NFL best when he retired in 1972. Starr also held the Packers’ franchise record for games played (196) for 32 years, through the 2003 season.
Stefan Diggs scored the Vikings’ other touchdown with 45-yard grab from Cousins with 9:12 to play in the third.
The final score was 21-16.
Packers safety Raven Greene was carted off the field with an ankle injury following the first play of the second half. He did not return.
Vikings: Host Raiders on Sept. 22.
Packers: Host Broncos on Sept. 22.