That other personnel may need to threaten defenses more for Adams to do his thing. On one play against the Bears, he looked across the line of scrimmage and saw three defenders in position to guard him on a crossing route. He’s going to command that type of attention at times.
One benefit in Chicago was Marquez Valdes-Scantling getting single coverage deep on the offense’s biggest play of the game, a 47-yard bomb to open the second quarter. Green Bay’s three tight ends – Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan – also combined for five catches, 72 yards and a score. But the production was more erratic than consistent.
This Sunday, how much help the Vikings give top corner Xavier Rhodes on Adams will be watched closely, particularly by Rodgers. Adams and Rhodes have gone head-to-head before, battles Adams says are built on “mutual respect,” but Rodgers won’t hesitate to give him a chance when he’s one-on-one.
Last week, Rhodes and the Vikings limited Atlanta’s Julio Jones to just 31 yards on six catches, keeping him out of the end zone until a minute remained in Minnesota’s blowout win. If he’s drawing safety help or the eyes of zone defenders as he traverses the middle of the field, Adams wants to be asked to make plays anyway.
“It means a lot but I still want the ball,” he said of seeing defensive schemes targeting him. “Obviously it means they’re concerned with where I am on the field, but it’s no excuse. It happens to Julio, it happens to a bunch of people, so we still have to find ways to move the ball.”
For LaFleur, his focus in that regard is improving on third down after a frustrating 2-for-12 showing against the Bears. He felt the downfall was too many long-yardage situations, with six of the 12 conversion attempts requiring 10-plus yards, including four straight in the second half (15, 15, 17, 12), all failures.
By contrast, in the second quarter, when the Packers needed between four and seven yards on a string of four third downs, they went 2-for-4.
“We know that’s going to be an important part of this game is staying ahead of the chains on first and second down so we can get in those third-and-manageable situations,” LaFleur said. “So you can stay on the grass, and so you can sustain drives.”
There’s a lot to iron out. LaFleur has spoken of the tempo in and out of the huddle, to allow for some surveying at the line of scrimmage, or for quick snaps when a rhythm is found.