It was a wild opening weekend in the NFL and the much anticipated matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers did not disappoint, although it went differently than most of the media predicted. Behind the arm of Aaron Rodgers and the legs of Ryan Grant and Will Blackmon, the Packers prevailed, 24-19. Evil has been vanquished, for now, and all is good in the world.
- Jared Allen’s contract includes $31 million guaranteed. If he reaches certain milestones the value of the contract could be worth as much as $74 million. I’m guessing that posting zero tackle, zero sack games is not one of those milestones. Chad Clifton’s complete domination of Allen was a joy to watch and it only solidifies my belief that Allen is overrated and his mere presence does not make the Vikings an instant Super Bowl contender. Or maybe Chad Clifton is just the best tackle in football? Which one is it Vikings’ fans? Which is it Dr. Z? At least the Vikings faithful still have his back.
- The Vikings also spent a lot of money on former Chicago Bears wideout and part-time pimp Bernard Berrian. Other than the pass interference penalty he drew, the guy was a non-factor. Berrian can only run one pattern (the go route) and at this point, Sidney Rice is a more complete receiver and Rice, frankly, would be lucky to be the Packers No. 4.
- I hope I never see that officiating team again. Bad calls on both teams, worse non-calls. Gotta let people play.
- Story of the night, of course, was Aaron Rodgers, who displayed the same poise and composure that he did all summer. He was very accurate, showed moxie on his TD pass and genuine emotion on his rushing TD. That moment was an NFL Films dream. If he goes on to have a great career, it will be that score and the ensuing celebration that will be remembered as his coming out party.
- Gotta love Rodgers mobility and ability to stretch a play or gain yards with his legs. To put it in perspective, Rodgers gained more yards last night rushing than Brett Favre did during all of 2007. It’s yet another weapon that opponents will have to game plan for.
- How insanely deep are the Packers at safety? Atari Bigby and Nick Collins both played solid games, but Aaron Rouse deserves to get on the field more. Perhaps as a passing down linebacker?
- Ryan Grant looked fantastic, which was shocking. I expected him to be a bit out of shape and a non-factor after his holdout. Brandon Jackson, on the other hand, was wretched. He showed no ability to escape tackles and seemed slow to hit the hole. Add his fumble and the guy had a pretty forgettable night.
- A good thing about facing the Vikings early on is that the Packers defense likely will not face a better running back than Adrian Peterson for the rest of the season. A good early test for the Packers young, D-line. Peterson ran hard, but did not control the game.
- Greg Jennings is the best receiver on the team, the best of his draft class and certainly top 10 in the league. Even before the Favre debacle, there were fans calling for Ted Thompson’s head after he drafted Jennings instead of somebody like Chad Jackson. Put their career stats side by side and then try to tell me he made the wrong choice.
- Aaron Kampman is a beast.
- I have high hopes for Nick Barnett this season. The Packers are really opening things up for him and A.J. Hawk this season and I hope it translates to more sacks and big plays for those guys.
- Al Harris did indeed get rocked by Adrian Peterson early in the game, but you have to admire his courage later in the fourth quarter. Again finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Peterson, Harris stood tall. Not only did Harris avoid taking the easy way out by diving at him low, he locked Peterson up high and body slammed him to the ground. Given the blow he took earlier and the fact that he gives up 20-30 pounds to Peterson, that says something about Harris’ toughness.
- As much as I hate Tony Kornheiser he was right about the Packers choice to hold out for a field goal at the end of the second half instead of going for a touchdown. McCarthy was fairly aggressive throughout the game. Playing it safe there almost lost us all the momentum.
- Jared Allen before last night’s game: “Hopefully, I can put my helmet square in the back of [Aaron Rodgers’] spine.” Jared Allen after last night’s game: “This is one of the least productive games I’ve had in my life.”