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For Packers' Davante Adams, 'beautiful game' — and record-tying performance — were days in the making
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For Packers' Davante Adams, 'beautiful game' — and record-tying performance — were days in the making

Davante Adams - Packers Vikings

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught 14 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns Sunday in Green Bay's 43-34 win over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. 

As the final seconds ticked away — after Davante Adams had snared what could have been considered his 15th reception of the day, grabbing the Minnesota Vikings’ onside kick to seal the Green Bay Packers’ 43-34 victory Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis — Aaron Rodgers targeted his favorite target to deliver some news.

The quarterback had just learned from PR man Tom Fanning that Adams’ 14 (official) receptions had tied the franchise’s single-game record, held by Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Hutson — whose name graces the façade of the team’s practice facility. Rodgers, in turn, broke the news to Adams, whose career-high 14 catches had come on 17 targets and accounted for 156 yards, including 24- and 1-yard touchdowns.

“I had no clue,” Adams confessed. “I knew I had a couple catches by that point, and I knew I might be creeping up around that area, but I definitely didn't know that that was 14. Aaron actually told me on the sideline at the end of the game right before we went up and shook hands (with the Vikings).

“It’s awesome man. It’s awesome. It’s great company to be in. I wish I could have broken it. Probably would have had it if I would have caught that one on the sideline a little cleaner, the one they called back.”

Yes, perhaps the most impressive thing about Adams’ dominant performance was that it could have been even better. He had one sideline catch taken away by instant replay after he bobbled it slightly along the sideline just before halftime, and he was charged with a drop on what would have been his third touchdown of the game on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 early in the second quarter. (Hutson’s record-setting game, incidentally, came 78 years ago on Nov. 22, 1942, against the New York Giants.)

“I knew he was getting the ball. I didn’t feel like I was force-feeding him,” said Rodgers, who targeted his other wide receivers 10 times (Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard), his backs 11 times (Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, Tyler Ervin) and his tight ends three times (Josiah Deguara, Jace Sternberger).

“He was just in positions to make a number of catches, and he obviously made a bunch of plays. I would tease him probably on the bus (on the way to the airport) about that slight little bobble at the end of the first half, it would’ve been the 15th (catch). But I always believed that records should be achieved in the flow, that we shouldn’t go chasing those things.

“What a beautiful game that he played today.”

It was a thing of beauty that Adams saw coming once he got a feel for head coach Matt LaFleur’s game plan and how it was designed to exploit the Vikings’ remade cornerbacks corps of third-year men Mike Hughes and Holton Hill and rookies Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney.

“We’re always going to try to get him the ball. He’s such a dynamic playmaker,” LaFleur said. “We’re going to have to be creative in terms of trying to find ways to free him up, and then when those opportunities present themselves, it’s really on everybody else to go out there and execute to make sure he gets those opps.

“(Adams and Rodgers) have got great chemistry between the both of them. They’re always on the same page, and it’s fun to watch when you see two guys on the same page go out and be able to execute at such a high level. I think they’re one of the best duos in the National Football League. But again, it’s one week.”

For years, Adams has said he doesn’t care who he lines up against — be it a potential Pro Football Hall of Famer like Richard Sherman, or a newbie rookie. But he had a feeling that the Vikings’ inexperienced crew might not be able to keep up with him and Rodgers.

“Friday is about the time I really realized we were going to do some stuff,” Adams said. “Because the way I prepare, the way we prepare as an offense, Aaron and I, we have our own meetings with just me and him. He tells me to come to him with certain routes that I like going into the week, and we talk about that.

“My preparation was pretty much wrapped up Friday, and it was just locking in and tapping into getting ready to play here in front of zero thousand fans. I kind of had some different mental waves that I went into, because we didn't have any games yet … (and) just based off the vibe and the way this offense is on with me and ‘12’ right now.”

Photos: Packers take down Vikings in season opener

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