Grading the Game: Packers

The Vikings had a couple of better-than-average grades, but overall the report card for the Vikings against the Packers mirrors their performance in a losing, inconsistent effort.

PASSING OFFENSE: D — Tarvaris Jackson threw for 16 yards and completed two passes in the first half. That simply isn't going to cut it. Jackson finished with 178 yards passing but he must be more consistent and make better decisions. The Vikings' leading receivers were Garrett Mills, Bernard Berrian, Chester Taylor and Visanthe Shiancoe with three catches apiece. The surprise is that Mills, a tight end, had the most receiving yards (49). The Vikings had a chance to win this one late but Jackson's errant pass for Shiancoe was intercepted by Packers safety Atari Bigby. If Jackson can't get on track, and quick, all of the Vikings' offseason moves aren't going to mean much.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B — Running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries, including a long of 34 yards late the first quarter, and one touchdown. That was a good sign for the Vikings considering Peterson was held under 100 yards for the final four games of what was a standout rookie season. Veteran Chester Taylor got the ball only five times; it's clear that this is going to be Peterson's show in 2008.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus — The Vikings, who had the NFL's worst-ranked pass defense in 2007, gave up 178 yards through the air to Aaron Rodgers. Fifty-six of those came on a second-quarter pass on which receiver Greg Jennings made a leaping catch against cornerback Charles Gordon. That put the ball at the Vikings 6-yard line and led to a 1-yard touchdown throw. It didn't help matters that rookie safety Tyrell Johnson, starting in place of the injured Madieu Williams, bit on a play fake. Minnesota coaches have said on several occasions that they can accept giving up passing yards but what they won't tolerate is surrendering explosive plays. Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen was pretty much a non-factor in his first game with the Vikings.

RUSH DEFENSE: C — This unit was the best in the NFL last season and it certainly was out for some revenge against Green Bay. Ryan Grant was the only running back to have a 100-yard game against Minnesota when the Packers cruised to a 34-0 victory in November. Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams said that type of rushing performance would not happen again. He was right in that Grant did not reach 100 yards. But Grant did average 7.7 yards per carry, gaining 92 yards on 12 attempts. This included a 57-yard run that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter. The Packers gained 139 yards on 27 carries, a 5.1 average, which is a number the Vikings defense is not going to find acceptable when it watches the film.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F — Ryan Longwell hit field-goal attempts of 37 and 27 yards but the bad far outweighed the good. The lowlight came when the Packers' Will Blackmon returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Packers a commanding 17-6 lead. There is no doubt the Vikings miss linebacker Heath Farwell on the coverage units. Farwell is out for the season after injuring his knee in the preseason opener. The Vikings also didn't make much, if any, impact on kickoff or punt returns.

COACHING: D — The biggest surprise was that the Vikings didn't look all that ready to play in their opener. There is no doubt coach Brad Childress is taking a gamble by going with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback and in Week 1 it certainly did not pay off. Childress preached consistency in the locker room after the loss. He had better hope his team took the message to heart.

Viking Update Top Stories