GREEN BAY, Wis. — All that mattered to Aaron Rodgers on Sunday was that the Packers won.
Rodgers threw two early touchdowns and Green Bay held on for a 21-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
"The biggest thing is that we're 2-0," he said. "I know we owe a lot of that to our defense and (defensive coordinator) Mike Pettine and his staff and those guys for being opportunistic and making plays when they had to. But I think there's still a lot of great potential in this offense."
On a day when the Packers honored late Hall of Famer Bart Starr at halftime, Rodgers put on quite a show — particularly early. Rodgers completed nine of his first 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns and had a perfect 158.3 rating through the first quarter. He finished 22 of 34 for 209 yards.
Rodgers and new coach Matt LaFleur experimented with Rodgers wearing a playcall wristband in the hope that it would speed up the play-calling process and get the offense out of the huddle quicker.
"Yeah, this is probably the wordiest offense I've been in since Cal," said Rodgers, who played college ball at California after transferring from Butte Community College. "I think it just helps with communication. He doesn't have to say 12 syllables to me, and then I say 12 syllables in the huddle. It helps speed things up a little bit. But we didn't use it a whole lot. We only used it about five or six times."
After scoring on each of its first three possessions, Green Bay's offense failed to muster another point. But the hot start was enough to win.
The Packers remained unbeaten under LaFleur after opening the NFL's 100th season with a victory at rival Chicago. They also beat the Vikings (1-1) for the fifth time in the past seven games at Lambeau Field.
Minnesota's Dalvin Cook had a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It was the third-year pro's second consecutive game with over 100 yards rushing. Cook also had 37 yards receiving in the loss.
"We're just trying to find our rhythm," Cook said. "It was a hostile environment. We knew what we were coming into. Tried to prepare as well as we could. You can never replicate a game. Just trying to find our rhythm. We found it, but they jumped on us pretty early."
After throwing the ball just 10 times in the opener against Atlanta, Kirk Cousins finished 14 of 32 with 230 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Cousins was picked off by Kevin King in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.
"You just can't do that, can't do that," Cousins said of the interception. "It happened last week in our game against us. We talked about it all week, you just can't do that. It's uncharacteristic of me."
The Vikings are 5-2-1 in last their eight meetings against Green Bay.
Rodgers and Davante Adams connected on a 39-yard completion on the Packers' first offensive play. Rodgers found running back Jamaal Williams for a 15-yard touchdown to cap a four-play, 75-yard drive.
Adams finished with 106 yards on nine catches.
"We started off a lot faster," Adams said. "That's definitely what we were after this week."
It took Green Bay's offense all of 12 minutes to score more points (14) than it did in the season opener at Chicago (10).
After a missed field goal by Minnesota, receiver Geronimo Allison, who did not see a single pass against the Bears, gave the Packers a two-score advantage on a 12-yard strike from Rodgers.
Green Bay took over at the Vikings 33 after defensive lineman Kenny Clark sacked Cousins, forcing a fumble. Dean Lowry recovered the loose ball.
The Packers took a commanding 21-0 lead with 2 minutes to play in the first half on 2-yard run by Aaron Jones.
"We came out hot," said Jones, who finished with 116 yards on 23 carries. "We thought we could do no wrong. We've just got to continue to work at it because the fourth drive, fifth drive, sixth drive, we want points on those as well."
After rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a win last week against the Falcons, Cook broke out for a 75-yard score following a missed tackle by rookie safety Darnell Savage.
"Eventually one of us was going to make a play to get this game rolling, and it was just me that made a play," Cook said. "Whatever to get a team rolling, to get this thing going, that was the play to do it."
Stefan Diggs scored the Vikings' other touchdown with a 45-yard grab with 9:12 to play in the third.
"Disappointing loss today," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "We fought hard, but we didn't play well enough to win. We had some dumb penalties. ... The interception at the end of the ballgame hurt."
Minnesota had eight penalties for 100 yards.
Packers: S Raven Greene was carted off the field with an ankle injury following the first play of the second half. He did not return.
The Packers honored Starr during a celebration that included a video tribute, words from Starr's wife, Cherry, and an appearance by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Starr, who died in May at 85, was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls and won the league MVP award in 1966 with the Packers. Starr has the highest postseason passer rating (104.8) of any QB in NFL history and a postseason record of 9-1. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Vikings: Host Raiders on Sept. 22.
Packers: Host Broncos on Sept. 22.
Cook sets career rushing high in Vikings' loss to Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Dalvin Cook gave the Minnesota Vikings hope. He just couldn't quite carry them past Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Cook ran for a career-high 154 yards and a long a touchdown to help the Vikings make it close after they looked as though they were going to get blown out in a 21-16 loss Sunday.
"It was just keep fighting," he said. "That's a tough team we've got. We've got some fighters. Smart, physical players and that's the type of locker room we've got. We just wanted to keep fighting, and I think as long as the scoreboard says some time on it, we think we've got a chance to win the football game."
It looked as if they had no chance, trailing 21-0 thanks to two touchdown throws by Rodgers in the first quarter and a 2-yard run by Aaron Jones two plays into the second after Kirk Cousins lost a fumble on a sack in Vikings territory.
But Minnesota stuck with the ground game despite the big deficit. And Cook helped make things at least interesting after combining to run for just 67 yards in two games against Green Bay last year.
On the second play from scrimmage after Jones scored, he broke off a 75-yard touchdown that was the longest run of his career. It was also the second-longest ever by a Minnesota player against the Packers.
Cook burst through a hole in the middle and avoided a lunging Darnell Savage near midfield as he turned toward the right side on the way to the end zone.
"The O-line gave me a crease on the backside," he said. "I just hit it with all I had. It was just one of those plays, I was close to being hit a couple of times today. That was the time that I had to take full advantage of it right there."
The Vikings are banking on big things from Cook in his third season after injuries limited him to 15 games through his first two. His emergence would give them a better run-pass balance and provide a big lift coming off a disappointing year.
The Vikings thought they had a Super Bowl contender in 2018 after signing Cousins, only to miss the playoffs at 8-7-1.
It was no surprise they made some changes in the offseason, with Kevin Stefanski taking over as offensive coordinator and bringing in former Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak as an offensive adviser. They also made some adjustments on the line.
The Vikings are trying to make Cook a key weapon to go with one of the best receiving tandems in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
"We knew he was an explosive back, and you give him any kind of space, if one guy messes up, he's going to see the crease, he's going to see the gap opening, and he's going to cut it back and make a play," Packers nose tackle Kenny Clark said. "You saw a little bit of that today."
Cook carried 20 times against Green Bay after running for 111 yards in a season-opening win over Atlanta. That gave him back-to-back games with 100 or more for the first time in his career and four in all.
"Having a back like that definitely makes it easier up front," guard Dakota Dozier said. "If you can get your guy for just a split second, he can get through the hole, make some big plays. I definitely love blocking for him."
The Vikings stuck with the run on a day when Cousins was off target — 14 of 32 with 230 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
They also committed eight penalties for 100 yards, including an offensive interference call on Cook late in the half that wiped out a 3-yard touchdown pass to Diggs. Minnesota settled for a field goal.
"I feel great," Cook said. "There's still a lot of stuff we can improve on. There's still a lot of stuff we are going to improve on. We've just got to get better each and every week. I think we are. This team right here is all about work. That's all we want to do."
-- By Andrew Seligman, AP