It should be noted that the Minnesota Vikings failed to sack Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night after bringing him down 14 times in two games last season. How did it happen? As the chart from ESPN Stats & Information shows, the Vikings mostly stayed back in coverage -- rushing four or fewer players on 27 of Rodgers' 37 dropbacks.
They also manually slowed down their defensive linemen to help their injury-depleted secondary cover the Packers' short and intermediate routes. Defensive end Jared Allen intercepted one screen pass and tipped another, and defensive tackle Kevin Williams also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
"At times they weren't even rushing," Rodgers said. "They were more content with kind of standing at the line of scrimmage and really jumping. When you can slow down two great rushers like that, that's a good thing for us."
Rodgers was quick to note the Packers also did "a nice job of blocking" but saw a strategic purpose as well. The Vikings are playing without starting cornerback Cedric Griffin, and rookie nickelback Chris Cook was benched in favor of Frank Walker in the first half.
"With the personnel they were playing in the secondary," Rodgers said, "I think they were trying to really guard against some of the quick timing throws we have."