View images from the week 12 matchup at TCF Bank Stadium between the Vikings and Packers.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings had to contend with Packers receiving threats Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson on more plays Sunday in the second Border Battle, but reduced the impact of the explosive threats through coverage and execution by defenders.
Cobb and Nelson combined for 12 catches for 126 yards (10.5 yards per reception) on 17 targets in Sunday's game seven weeks after they helped quickly impact the first meeting with four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets in October. Cobb played 57 of 65 Green Bay's offensive snaps and Nelson played 62 Sunday, compared to 43 and 38 of 54 offensive plays the Packers ran in the first meeting.
Nelson said Minnesota showed more "two-high" (in reference to lining up both safeties deeper off the line than just one) than other opponents have done against them.
"They played a lot more coverage than what we have seen," Nelson said. "We were waiting on their two-high and a lot of it came, but then in the second half they went away from it, which allowed us to get a little more active. Teams have been playing one-high and that's why we have been throwing it."
Safety Harrison Smith said he thought the Vikings "did a pretty good job challenging the receivers."
"I think the coaches did a good job preparing us and had us in the right mindset," Smith said. "We did some good things, just not enough."
Minnesota joined Detroit as the only two teams to keep Cobb and Nelson out of the end zone in the same game in the 24-21 loss that was a 29-point improvement in point differential from the last time the teams met.
"We knew it would be a tough game, especially because of the way we played the last time we played them," Cobb said. "We played well that last time we played them, the score may not have shown how great of a team they really are, but they came out a great team tonight."
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said the secondary did a solid job of responding to a challenge by coaches to compete with physicality.
"We eliminated the big plays," Munnerlyn said. "We just went out there and competed and did what coach asked us to do: go out there, compete, get your hands on those guys and make them make tough catches. Aaron Rodgers threw a couple in there, and you were like, 'Wow, that's why he gets paid the big bucks,' but we competed."
Rodgers was asked about the difference in playing his first outdoor game in Minnesota, and said the real difference was playing a team led by Zimmer. Rodgers added that Munnerlyn, Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson "covered pretty well."
"Mike is a great football mind, and he had a great plan for us again, he had a great plan for us the first time but we were able to turn turnovers into points," Rodgers said. "This time they only turned the ball over once and we held onto the football pretty well. Obviously ball control is important for them, limiting the number of possessions in the game. They put a lot on Xavier and Captain, and Josh. Those guys tackled well, they covered pretty well and you've got to give them credit."