What you need to know: Rodgers has Packers clicking


The Green Bay Packers jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 42-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night. Our takeaways:

1. After Aaron Rodgers told the football world to R-E-L-A-X, the Packers went on a 66-0 run from the second quarter of last week's game through the third quarter of Thursday night's tilt. It got so ugly so fast that backup Matt Flynn took over for the entire fourth quarter. Now clicking on all cylinders, this offense should be one of the NFL's best the rest of the way.

2. Shame on you if you doubted Eddie Lacy's obvious talent after his slow start against a string of tough run defenses. The bruising back exploded for a season-high in yards by halfway through the first quarter, and dragged Vikings safety Robert Blanton up and down the field. Finally benefiting from wide lanes, Lacy showed patience, cut violently and made defenders miss in the open field. By the end of the third quarter, he had more total yards (132) than the Vikings accrued as a team (123).

3. The game didn't set up well for Christian Ponder. He's never had the strongest arm. That goes double in a steady rain, playing from behind. He had trouble identifying the blitz, missed a slew of throws and failed to get the ball to playmakers Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright and Jerick McKinnon. The play-calling suggested he lacked the coaching staff's confidence as well.

4. Jordy Nelson showed why he's one of the NFL's best route runners, when star safety Harrison Smith bit hard on a double move that resulted in a 66-yard touchdown on a perfect pass from Rodgers. Only DeSean Jackson (13) has more receptions of at least 60 yards than Nelson's 10 since 2008. His numbers would have been better had the game not been a laugher at halftime.

5. A slimmed-down Julius Peppers is on pace for a Pro Bowl season after his production tailed off with the Bears a year ago. His second-quarter pick-six left him as the only player in NFL history with at least 100 sacks and 10 interceptions. Peppers, 34, has been Green Bay's best defensive player thus far. A swarming Packers pass rush hit Ponder 16 times, including four for high-motor defensive end Mike Daniels.

6. Wright is going to have a significant role in the Vikings offense, but we would prefer to see Cordarrelle Patterson getting more of his easy touches in space. Patterson was a non-factor after missing time with a hip injury in the third quarter and failed to get a rushing attempt for the third time in the past four games.

7. Mike Zimmer's Vikings defense got pushed around on the ground but still deserved a better fate. They held the Packers to more three-and-outs than they had all season. The game spiraled out of control after Ponder's pick-six and a second interception that gave the Packers a short field.

8. Randall Cobb now leads the NFL with six touchdown receptions.

9. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Kickoff Total Access that Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) would have played had the Vikings not been on a short week. Mike Zimmer says the rookie will start next week versus the Lions.

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