MINNEAPOLIS — Marquez Valdes-Scantling had one of the Packers’ four touchdown catches on Sunday, Sept. 13, a 45-yard bullet on a broken play that stood after a video review and put Green Bay up 22-7 late in the second quarter of the Packers’ 43-34 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
He finished with four catches for 96 yards but it should have been more. He was targeted six times and dropped two passes.
On a third-and-6 from the Packers’ 41-yard line, a wide-open Valdes-Scantling dropped a Rodgers pass that would have gone for more than the needed six yards. On his next target, he dropped a perfect first-down pass from his quarterback in Vikings territory.
After the two drops, veteran Davante Adams made it a point to seek out the third-year pro.
“I said, ‘Man, I forgot you even dropped it. What are you talking about?’” said Adams, who has 445 receptions for more than 5,300 yards in six-plus seasons. “That’s the mentality we have to have. … I know you guys think playing wide receiver in the league is a really easy job but it’s not. It’s difficult.”
Still, Rodgers went back to Valdes-Scantling on the same drive. With Hughes in tow, Valdes-Scantling hauled in a 39-yard pass to the Vikings’ 2-yard line, setting up a one-yard touchdown catch by Adams.
“That shows me, more than anything, I’m more proud of him for that than if he would’ve caught the initial ball and scored, honestly,” Adams said, “because me being another receiver, I know exactly how difficult it is to bounce back from something like that.”
Armchair NFL coaches had a strong feeling this week that Aaron Rodgers and Adams would do well against the Vikings’ inexperienced cornerbacks. So, what do you think the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback and his favorite receiver suspected might happen?
“I would say it was pretty early,” Adams said. “That’s no disrespect to that ball club; they’re definitely talented. But just based off the vibe and the way this offense is on with me and 12 right now.”
Rodgers and Adams connected 14 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Sunday marked the first start at corner for second-year player Holton Hill, and the first NFL experience for rookie Cameron Dantzler. With the free-agent departures of cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes Dantzler, a third-round pick from Mississippi State, started with third-year player Mike Hughes.
First-round pick Jeff Gladney didn’t get any snaps from scrimmage.
“Definitely different without Xavier and Trae, having played against them for a number of years,” Rodgers said. “Minnesota has some really good young corners and as we saw with various young corners we’ve played over the years, if you don’t make plays on them early, they’re going to figure it out at some point.
“We were able to get the ball down the field at times today, guys made some contested catches, but they’ve got some good young corners.”
Overall, Rodgers completed 32 of 45 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
Nose tackle Kenny Clark left Sunday’s with a groin injury at halftime. Coach Matt LaFleur said he did not know the severity of the injury immediately after the game.
“I went in there after the game and just wished him well, told him I appreciate how hard he played,” LaFleur said. “We will find out here in the very near future.”