Vikings 28, Packers 27: A Reversal of Fortune

We don't win games like this.

We never win games like this.

Other teams are the teams that win games like this.

Admit it. . .when Adrian Peterson got in for that last touchdown (and pimp-slapped Atari Bigby right across the face in the process), the first thing you did was look at the clock and realize that there were still two minutes and change remaining.  You remembered that Brad Childress was 0-5 against the Packers going into today's game.  You remembered that the Vikings' special teams, who had been great in kick coverage all afternoon (not on punt coverage, but on kickoff coverage) was due to give up a decent return.  And they did.

And when a pass that had been tipped by Ellis Wyms landed in the hands of Donald Driver for a 19-yard gain, you knew that the game was going to come down to a last-second field goal attempt for the Packers.  And it did.

And you were prepared for Brad Childress' record against the Packers to go to 0-6 and for our playoff chances to, effectively, be circling the bowl.

And it. . .did. . .NOT.

No, rather than having to hang our heads for another week and listen to the whooping and hollering from the other side of the Mississippi, Mason Crosby pushed his 52-yard field goal attempt wide to the right, and the Vikings held on for a 28-27 victory in a game that, by all rights, shouldn't have been anywhere near that close.

The Vikings were the better team on the football field for the majority of today's contest, and anyone that watched the game from start to finish would readily admit as much.  17 of the Packers' 27 points were basically gifted to them by Gus Frerotte.  Their longest drive of the day. . .the drive where they scored their only offensive touchdown after Frerotte's first interception. . .netted them 48 yards.  The Packers had 184 yards of total offense as a team. . .Adrian Peterson had 225 all by himself.  The Vikings held the ball for just over 36 minutes to just a shade under 24 for Green Bay.

Defensively, Jared Allen was using his one healthy arm to beat Chad Clifton like a drum all afternoon long.  The Vikings as a team racked up five sacks, including two that resulted in safeties.  (And people can whine all they want to. . .the officials made the right call when Aaron Rodgers stupidly tried to shovel the ball forward from the end zone on the first safety.  It's not the referee's fault that Rodgers has no field awareness.)  The Packers didn't have a single play all afternoon that went for 20 yards or more.  The Vikings held allegedly great wide receiver Greg Jennings to 3 catches for 37 yards, effectively taking away Green Bay's most effective pass play (i.e. "throw the ball as high as you can and see if Jennings can come down with it").  Aaron Rodgers ran scared all afternoon, and the Vikings' defense played like the all-world unit we knew all along they were capable of being, despite not having E.J. Henderson available.

But at the end, we were locked in a dogfight because. . .well, Gus doth giveth, and Gus doth taketh away.  Actually for most of the afternoon, Gus gaveth away. . .and he damn near gaveth the Packerth Packers the football game.  When it counted the most, however, the Vikings knew what they had to do to get themselves a victory.  Everyone on the Green Bay sidelines knew.  Everyone in the stands knew.  Everyone watching on TV knew.

And it simply didn't matter.  Observe (from NFL.com):

1-10-MIN 31 (5:50) 28-A.Peterson left tackle to MIN 35 for 4 yards (50-A.Hawk).
2-6-MIN 35 (5:18) 28-A.Peterson left guard to MIN 40 for 5 yards (79-R.Pickett).
3-1-MIN 40 (4:33) 12-G.Frerotte pass short right to 19-B.Wade ran ob at MIN 45 for 5 yards.
1-10-MIN 45 (4:28) 28-A.Peterson left guard to MIN 47 for 2 yards (55-D.Bishop).
2-8-MIN 47 (3:53) 12-G.Frerotte pass short middle to 28-A.Peterson to GB 37 for 16 yards (20-A.Bigby).
1-10-GB 37 (3:06) 12-G.Frerotte pass short right to 28-A.Peterson to GB 29 for 8 yards (55-D.Bishop).
2-2-GB 29 (2:30) 28-A.Peterson right tackle for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Green Bay challenged the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #2 at 02:22.)

69 yards on the drive.  64 of them accounted for by Adrian Peterson, including the aforementioned 29-yard run to tie the game for Minnesota.  Oh, and notice where that long run went?  Right tackle. . .right behind Ryan Cook, and right at allegedly great defensive end Aaron Kampman.

Today's game affirmed a few things for us.  First off, nobody runs the ball like we do.  For the second season in a row, Adrian Peterson is the first back in the NFL to reach the 1,000 yard mark, and currently leads the NFL with 1,015 yards, 20 more than Washington's Clinton Portis.  (Nobody else in the NFL is over 900 yet.)

Second, when our defensive line is on, there are very few (if any) defensive lines that can hang with them, and even fewer offensive lines that can actively handle them.

Third, that Chester Taylor guy is a pretty damn good football player, and needs to see more touches.  Oh, and has anybody found Desmond Bishop's jock strap?  He lost it when #29 faked him out of it on his 47-yard TD catch.

Fourth, the Packers are not a better team than we are.  They're certainly not more talented and. . .boy, it's going to be weird to say this. . .they're not better coached than Minnesota is, either.

(Yeah, that's right.  Mike McCarthy is no better a head coach than Brad Childress.  I said it.)

Fifth. . .if you're going to go on NFL Network to run your mouth and do a big ol' dissertation on how the Vikings' secondary can be exploited. . .it would be nice of you to go out on Sunday afternoon and do better than 3 catches for 37 yards.  Yes, Greg Jennings, I'm looking at you.  (Yes, I know that Bernard Berrian was held without a catch today.  He also managed to accrue one more victory this afternoon than all of Green Bay's receivers combined.  He also wasn't dumb enough to think that he could go on TV and give away his team's gameplan and not think anybody would notice.)

So now we're 5-4. . .but four of the next five games are on the road, including two trips to Florida in the next two weeks to face off with the Buccaneers and the Jaguars.  We'll look more at those over the course of the next week, but for the first time in the history of The Daily Norseman, I can leave you with the following words:

The Vikings beat the Packers today.

How sweet it is.

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