A wise man once said, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” On that note, hang in
there, Vikings fans.
On a Sunday in an empty U.S. Bank Stadium, a day the Vikings celebrated as the beginning
of their 60th NFL season, the Vikings honored the family of George Floyd with a ceremony on
the field before kickoff. Floyd was murdered on 38th and Chicago by four Minneapolis police on
The Vikings made a huge mistake, however. Outside U.S Bank Stadium (remember, no fans
allowed) the two entrances were manned by the Minneapolis Police Department.
That had to be humiliating for the Floyd family while entering U.S Bank Stadium, and
maybe it was an omen for what was to come later.
The Sounds of Blackness sung the national anthem, and the Vikings stood arm in arm except
for one Vikings players who may have been the first in franchise history to take a knee. The
Packers chose to stay in the locker room.
After years of opposing players protesting police brutality, the NFL has embraced the
movement. Players wore shirts and masks bearing racial justice slogans, and several teams
stayed in their locker rooms for the national anthem.
It was the first time in this border battle rivalry that Green Bay opened the season in
Minnesota. Call it a wasted opportunity.
The Packers humbled the Vikings 43-34. It was the most points ever allowed by the Vikings
on NFL kickoff weekend. As I left U.S. Bank Stadium I glanced at a portrait of the Purple
People Eaters—Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and Gary Larsen. I could almost see tears in
Green Bay had 522 yards total offense and 31 first downs. They scored more than a point a
minute, and they had the ball for 41 minutes 16 seconds. Aaron Rodgers threw for 364 yards and
four touchdowns. Receiver Davante Adams’ 14 catches for 156 yards torched the Vikings
The Vikings actually led 7-3 and made a gutsy goal line stand. Yes, they actually stopped the
Packers at the one-yard line. Unfortunately, two plays later quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked
on a blitz for a safety.
With Vikings 7 and Packers 5, after the punt Green Bay added a field goal: 8-7 Packers. In
the next series, Cousins throws an interception and Rodgers quickly hit Adams for a touchdown:
15-7 Packers. It appeared that Adams did not get both feet down, but after review it was ruled a
Can you say, “That’s all, folks”? The Vikings could not get pressure on Rodgers, and the
Packers kept moving the chains. Green Bay did not punt until midway in the third quarter. Defensively it was a horrendous performance. The Vikings had no sacks. It’s an understatement to say the Vikings missed their best player, Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter and his 14½ sacks and leadership.
Hunter is on injured reserve for three weeks with a neck injury. Yannick Ngakoue, the new
defensive star traded for from Jacksonville two weeks ago, had no impact. He looked out of
shape and helpless.
Mike Zimmer has a big problem: He’s 2-5 vs NFC Central teams the last two years. He’s now
0-3 vs. Matt LaFleur and 0-2 at U.S Bank against the second-year head coach of the Packers,
who’s 15-4 now.
Zimmer is supposed to be a defensive coach, a fixer. He has a lot work ahead this week. Next
week the Vikings travel to Indianapolis to play Phillip Rivers and the Colts.
That was one of the worst defensive performances I’ve seen by a Vikings defense. Maybe it
was no fans and the players adjusting. Or was it first game jitters? We’ll see.
Teams that win NFL kickoff weekend have a 52% chance of making the playoffs. Right now
the Division is in the hands of Green Bay.