Cory's Corner: Aaron Rodgers Will Test Corners

Packers may stress the run, but the pass will win this game. 

We have all talked about the running game in the offseason. 

Aaron Jones, who is fresh off of setting a franchise record for touchdowns with 23, will be a focal point for the Vikings defense on Sunday afternoon when the Packers kick the season off at Minnesota. 

However, the Packers will win this one with Aaron Rodgers' right arm. 

The Vikings lost veteran corners Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander in the offseason. Minnesota will have six new starters in its nickel package and three of those will be corners. Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler have combined for just nine career starts. 

I can hear Rodgers licking his chops already. Expect plenty of double moves early as Rodgers will test those guys as he surveys his best matchup. Obviously, it helps when the Vikings have arguably the best safety tandem in football, but Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris can't be everywhere. Davante Adams will be bracketed by one of those safeties, leaving plenty of one-on-one matchups to exploit. 

Allen Lazard was second on the team with nine targets at Minnesota last year, with three deep incompletions. And that was when the Vikings' secondary wasn't relying on inexperienced corners to play a huge part in stopping the passing game. 

Another wrinkle will be Aaron Jones. He is the Packers' Swiss Army Knife and if he lines up on the outside, the green corners won't have a chance. 

Jones has become the heartbeat of the Packers' offense, but this matchup is all about seeing and taking advantage of a weakness. 

If you have inexperienced corners against one of the best passers that I've ever seen, then my recommendation would be to sit back and watch Rodgers carve up the Minnesota secondary. With no fans in U.S. Bank Stadium, communication to the offensive line and the rest of the skill players won't be a problem. However, look for Rodgers to continue his mastery of cadence and pull some unassuming Vikings offsides. 

So, Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will put their track shoes on early as Rodgers checks the temperature of those corners. He needs to know what he's up against and as long as he gets plenty of time, the Minnesota defense will be in trouble.  

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (18)

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arthurl's picture

September 12, 2020 at 07:23 am

That’s the way it would appear. I see the TE, Lewis helping out whoever plays RT and providing the time for Rodgers. There are couple players that I definitely will be interested how they perform, most notable are Kirksey, Gary, MVS, and St Brown. I hope they play Dillon to get a look what he might bring

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 12, 2020 at 02:20 pm

Daguara should get a couple plays to test Barr in coverage.

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ricky's picture

September 12, 2020 at 07:49 am

Enough with Rodgers tendency to hold onto the ball, looking for that big chunk play. If someone is open for a shorter pass that will move the chains, take it! It demoralizes the defense when your offense in on the field for 10-15 plays, eating up the clock and just nibbling you to death. Then, when they're frustrated and waiting for another dump off, hit them with a bomb. And if Adams is covered, throw the ball to someone who is open, rather than holding it, tapping it repeatedly, then breaking to the right or left to see if that somehow changes the defense. That has been the pattern for several years. Take a clue from Mahones- get the first down, move down the field, and the TD's will come.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 12, 2020 at 02:14 pm

Nice article by Mike Sando, in the Athletic. If Funchess didn't opt out, would MVS have been on this team?

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mnbadger's picture

September 12, 2020 at 07:54 am

Cory, I love the enthusiasm but it crashed on me with the last sentence in the article "as long as he gets plenty of time, the Minnesota defense will be in trouble"
Remember how zimmer won a division title a few years ago? Attack and maul QB1. Don't be surprised if they try to exploit one of our biggest weaknesses the same way. Whichever team can hold up the weak link wins. Pack 30 - 20. GPG

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Guam's picture

September 12, 2020 at 08:11 am

I don't think Zimmer has any choice but to use his front seven to attack Rodgers and try to protect his young secondary. If I can figure that out, so can MLF and Rodgers. Quick throws to slot receivers and running backs will preserve QB1 and exploit a weaker Viking D than we have seen in many years.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 12, 2020 at 02:15 pm

Have to make their LBs cover people to neutralize their blitzing.

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dobber's picture

September 13, 2020 at 05:35 am

I'll be shocked if the Vikes aren't playing almost exclusively zone pretty much all game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 13, 2020 at 05:48 am

Dom's zone blitz.

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dobber's picture

September 12, 2020 at 11:45 am

The best protection for #12 is likely to not be one-dimensional offensively...unless that one dimension springs from being so effective running the ball that ARod doesn't drop back hardly at all. Run right at the edges of that Viking front 7. Make their safeties commit to play run.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 12, 2020 at 10:27 am

As far as protecting Rodgers, I see Taylor as an upgrade at RG and I see Lewis lining up on the right side as TE until we see what Wagner can do. I agree that their corners will be tested. I am anxious to see what Matt’s offense looks like in its second year.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 12, 2020 at 10:30 am

Yes, I agree with all of you that is the way the Packers will likely exploit the defense. However, there is a strong part of me that would really like 6 to 8 runs by Dillon straight up the gut to 'Knock The Snot Out' of Barr and Hendricks (particularly Barr). Go Packers! :)

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dobber's picture

September 12, 2020 at 11:47 am

I think you'll see Dillon get the run-downs on a couple drives.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 12, 2020 at 01:19 pm

That is my hope!!!

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Since'61's picture

September 12, 2020 at 10:05 pm

Agree Dobber, especially if the Packers are playing with a lead in the 2nd half. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Stroh's picture

September 12, 2020 at 09:50 pm

Nothing like stating the utterly obvious, as usual. Par for the course.

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Johnblood27's picture

September 12, 2020 at 10:09 pm

douche

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Branden Burke's picture

September 13, 2020 at 12:18 am

I think minnesota has more weaknesses than green bay. Including but not limited to their coaching. They have lost the staple of their defensive line (arguably their best player in Joseph), the starting secondary outside of the safeties, no Hunter, and they brought in a guy who only replaces E griffin's pass rushing ability but isn't as good of an asset against the run. On the flip side, they have done nothing to stop green bays pass rush (which only stands to get better) and green bays maturing secondary should also be better. I don't think minnesota matches up as well as people think they do.

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