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Justin Jefferson’s 184 yards propels Vikings to 23-7 victory over Packers

Chris Simms and Mike Florio look ahead to kickoff for the 2022-23 NFL season with a showdown in the NFC North, where the Green Bay Packers will look to defend their divisional crown against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers couldn’t stop Justin Jefferson, and Aaron Rodgers had no time and no receiving help. It was ugly, as ugly as last season’s opener.

Led by Jefferson’s 184 receiving yards, the Vikings beat the Packers 23-7.

The Packers lost to the Saints 38-3 in the 2021 opening game, but they don’t have the same team they had a year ago.

On Sunday, Rodgers was missing left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), right tackle Elgton Jenkins (knee, pectoral) and receiver Allen Lazard (ankle). All three were inactive. Davante Adams, of course, is in Las Vegas now.

He finished 22-of-34 for 195 yards and an interception and took four sacks, injuring his neck in the third quarter when he was sandwiched between Jordan Hicks and Danielle Hunter. He did not miss any time, returning to the game before Jordan Love finished up the final drive, going 4-of-5 for 65 yards.

Green Bay did come close to scoring in the second quarter, but on fourth-and-one at the Minnesota 1, A.J. Dillon was stopped for no gain by Za’Darius Smith and Harrison Phillips. Rookie Christian Watson dropped a would-be 75-yard touchdown early in the game.

But Sunday was Jefferson’s day as he caught nine passes, two for touchdowns. His scoring plays covered 5 and 36 yards.

Kirk Cousins went 23-of-32 for 277 yards and two touchdowns, and Dalvin Cook had 20 carries for 90 yards and caught three passes for 18 yards.

The Vikings won in Kevin O’Connell’s debut.