Vikings alter coverage techniques vs. Packers

After facing a tall, physical set of receivers in Chicago, the Vikings are preparing for a different brand of Packers receivers.

The Green Bay Packers have one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the NFL, averaging 267.3 yards per game (eighth in the NFL). They didn’t put up those types of numbers the first time they played the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5, though, as the Packers only passed for 178 yards – Matt Flynn played the end of the game and threw for 22 yards.

They could afford a down week in passing because the Packers had plenty of success running the ball, with Eddie Lacy leading the way with 105 yards. They were also often playing on a short field as the Vikings turned the ball over three times.

Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson believes that the Viking defense played a big role in the Packers passing game struggling, and with the Vikings being able to hold the potent Packers offense to a three-and-out five times in the first half, he might be right.

“I think we did some things well up front as far as getting the rush going,” Robinson said. “We got to try to eliminate big plays – I know we gave up one big one and a couple easily ones – so we just got to try to eliminate those and improve.”

In their last game against the Packers, the Vikings were hurt by the big play. They were playing well and then Aaron Rodgers hit a wide-open Jordy Nelson for a 66-yard touchdown.

On that play, it was a busted coverage that left Nelson all alone in the middle of the field, and it’s plays like that the Vikings need to shore up, especially when guarding receivers as dangerous as Nelson and Randall Cobb.

It will be a big change for the Vikings coming off guarding the Bears receivers last week, who stand 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4, to covering the smaller but faster receivers of the Packers. Robinson said that they will have to change up their techniques when playing the Packers, especially when the opponents’ receivers contrast each other so much.

“With Chicago, you’ve got bigger receivers,” Robinson said. “And now with Green Bay you have quicker receivers who do double moves better, faster, so you just got to be quicker on your feet.

“You just change it up. You try to be different; you don’t want to show the same thing every week and try to change up your techniques.”

Another thing Vikings defenders are going to want to do is be physical with the Green Bay receivers. If they are able to do that, the intention is to throw off the timing between Rodgers and his receivers, and as far as Vikings safety Harrison Smith is concerned, the timing between the receivers and quarterback is a big reason for the success Green Bay has had offensively.

“I think you see a guy like Aaron Rodgers kind of running the show,” Smith said. “And his receivers – they have a lot of, they’ve played together and they play together very well – they’re all on the same page.”

If the Vikings are able to disrupt some of the routes of the Packers receivers they just might be able to have the success they had against the Packers’ passing attack like they did the first time around.


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