The Minnesota Vikings’ defense got divebombed by Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams in Week 1, giving up 43 points and 522 net yards in a blowout loss.
Mike Zimmer’s defense barely sniffed Rodgers, compiling a piddling two quarterback hits on 44 pass attempts with zero sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers was pressured just three times all game.
The Vikings acquired Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with Jacksonville to help put pressure on QBs and aid a very youthful secondary. He didn’t live up to the hype in his first game in purple, notching a single QB pressure and zero tackles.
“I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth, and I want to make it right this weekend,” Ngakoue said Wednesday, via the Pioneer Press.
The Vikings planned to pair Ngakoue with star defensive end Danielle Hunter, but the latter is on IR due to an injury. In the first game sans Hunter, Ngakoue was just getting back into the groove after sitting out Jags training camp.
“Just getting the rust off,” Ngakoue said. “It feels great coming into (the season) for a guy who just did four practices (with the Vikings), But at the same time, I feel like I should have made a bigger impact of helping the D-line out, just forcing more pressures on the quarterback.”
Against Green Bay, the Vikings had an average pass rush separation of 7.2 yards on passes while allowing a time to throw of 2.5-plus seconds — both were second-highest among 32 teams in Week 1, per NextGen Stats.
According to PFF, the Vikings had three cornerbacks allow a passer rating when targeted of 118.4 or worse (min. 10 coverage snaps), Mike Hughes (158.3 passer rating allowed), Cameron Dantzler (154.5) and Holton Hill (118.4).
With such a young corner crew, Zimmer’s defense badly needs its pass rush to discombobulate the quarterback.
“Right now, this defensive line and this defense needs a spark, and I need to go make that spark this weekend,” Ngakoue said.
The 43 points in Week 1 were the most the Vikings allowed since Green Bay scored 44 in Week 8, 2013 (the last season before Zimmer was hired). Minnesota has not allowed 35-plus points in back-to-back games since Weeks 7-9 of 2001.
The bad news for the Vikings is they visit Indianapolis on Sunday, where one of the best offensive lines in the NFL resides. Philip Rivers showed Week 1 that while he might throw a few 50/50 balls that get picked, he can still dice up a secondary. If Ngakoue and Co. don’t step to the plate, it could be another long day for the defensive backs.
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