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Monday Morning Mailbag: Frustrations With the Defense & Cook's Contract Extension

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

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Why did the Vikings not try to apply pressure on the GB offense? After the goal line stand, they hardly blitzed and played way too passive on defense.

— Jordan Musser

Not a single tackle or sack from our two main edge rushers. Maybe we overhyped them?

— Cody Waller in Chesapeake, Virginia

We'll combine these questions from Jordan and Cody, as both pertain to them pass rush/defense during Sunday's loss.

On a frustrating day for the Vikings defense, perhaps the most striking aspect of the loss was that Aaron Rodgers seemingly had all day to do as he pleased. In the 10 previous times the Vikings had faced Aaron Rodgers with Mike Zimmer at the helm, the Vikings had racked up multiple sacks nine times.

Minnesota obviously didn't record a sack Sunday, and it was one of the first things Zimmer mentioned in his postgame press conference.

"We didn't get much pressure on him, that's for sure," Zimmer said.

Rodgers utilized a quick release — how many times did we see him hit a teammate on a quick out pass Sunday and in recent games? Plus, when pressure does come, he's able to evade it and flick the ball 40 yards downfield for a score.

The Vikings have talked in the past about rushing with four players and hoping the get there, while everyone else is in coverage all over the field. That didn't happen Sunday, and it showed.

The Vikings, who were without two-time Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter, used a rotation of Yannick Ngakoue, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jalyn Holmes and Eddie Yarbrough against Green Bay. Odenigbo shifted inside at times as a pass rusher.

I wouldn't say that group was overhyped. If anything, they did the best they could given the circumstances.

Holmes and Yarbrough likely fall into the same category of guys who have been around for a few seasons but are still looking to make their mark. Odenigbo had a strong 2019 season as a reserve, but didn't make as much of an impact Sunday.

Which brings us to Ngakoue, who has now been a Viking for roughly two weeks. I remember one play where he was close to getting to Rodgers, but that doesn't matter much if he can't affect the throw.

Ngakoue is still getting familiar with his new teammates and the playbook, so let's wait a month or so before assessing his play in full.

That's not to say there isn't concern after the defense allowed 522 yards and 43 points. There certainly is.

But I'd classify it as a rough outing for the entire unit, not just any one player.

I am sending this on Thursday before Sunday's game. I wanted to express how refreshing and impressive Dalvin Cook's approach to the season is! To be named a team captain while other RBs might have held out or caused disruptions due to contract issues … it is refreshing to see and hear from an elite football player that his teammates, coaches and staff mean that much to him. And, also that he has the confidence of the organization to take care of the issue. His love for the game is real and for his team. I have always been a Vikings fan and Dalvin Cook and the rest of the team makes me proud to support such a group of men. SKOL.

— Larry Lujan in Las Vegas

Larry's email came in on Thursday, but I believe the sentiment remains the same on this Monday morning.

As we know, Dalvin and the Vikings did agree on a contract extension over the weekend. And he responded with a pair of rushing touchdowns on Sunday.

But his team-first attitude at all times is to be commended. Even when the two sides were working on a deal, Dalvin was working his tail off at practice and behind the scenes.

I tweeted this after the contract was announced, but I'm as much a fan as Dalvin the person as I am for Dalvin the running back. He's a great person who makes an impact in the community and truly cares about his teammates, too.

Sounds like we feel the same way about him, Larry.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday.

There was a point in the fourth quarter where we were scoring 1.19 points per minute on offense. Green Bay was averaging 1.02 per minute. Unfortunately, the score was 36 to 18. We need to getter better on defense at getting stops, and we will.

— Gerald Goblirsch

The Vikings offense certainly had its bright spots but also played a role in the loss, too.

In the second quarter, here is how the first three drives went for Minnesota: safety, punt and interception. The seven combined plays totaled minus-5 yards. If you include the safety, the Packers scored 19 points in the same timeframe.

In the end, Green Bay held the ball for a whopping 41 minutes and 16 seconds. Minnesota's 18:44 time of possession Sunday was its lowest regular-season total in franchise history (record has been kept since 1977), according to Elias Sports Bureau:

So although the Vikings offense had its moments, the majority of those occurred in the second half, when Zimmer admitted Green Bay played a vanilla defense.

In order to be successful going forward, the Vikings are going to need to play the complementary style of football that Zimmer likes … one that wasn't on display Sunday.