On their first drive of the second quarter, the Minnesota Vikings started with very good field position at their own 47-yard line, trailing the Green Bay Packers by a score of 7-0. Adrian Peterson got stuffed for a loss on the first play from scrimmage, but Sam Bradford then hit Kyle Rudolph for a 19-yard gain down to the Green Bay 39-yard line. Bradford then hit Adam Thielen on a pass down to the 27, and the Vikings were moving the ball. Another pass to Thielen set up a 4th-and-2 situation at the Green Bay 19, and rather than call on Blair Walsh, Mike Zimmer elected to roll the dice and go for it. Bradford found Stefon Diggs for a 4-yard gain, and the drive continued.
The Vikings immediately followed that with a false start on Andre Smith to push themselves back five yards, and then another one by Brandon Fusco to make it 1st-and-20. A screen pass to Peterson picked up 7, and a pass to Diggs picked up 9 more to give the Vikings 3rd-and-4. Then, Bradford dropped back and hit Kyle Rudolph for the Vikings' first touchdown at U.S. Bank Stadium from eight yards out! Blair Walsh came in and knocked home the extra point, and suddenly the game was tied at 7-7 with ten minutes left before halftime.
Walsh put the ensuing kickoff deep into the end zone, and the Packers started at their own 25 following the touchback. The Packers went three-and-out after a couple of runs by Lacy and an incomplete pass, and the Packers called on Jacob Schum to punt it away. Schum's punt was not a good one, only traveling 35 yards to the Minnesota 34-yard line, where the Vikings' offense picked things up once again.
The Vikings started their drive with Adrian Peterson running out of the Wildcat formation (!?) for a 4-yard gain. . .his longest of the game to that point. It didn't lead to much, though, as Bradford was sacked by Julius Peppers on third down to give the Vikings a three-and-out of their own. Jeff Locke came on to punt once again, and he booted it 45 yards to the Green Bay 24-yard line.
The Packers converted a big third down on a pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson that moved Green Bay into Minnesota territory at the 48. However, the Vikings' defense tightened up and forced another punt from Green Bay. Schum did his job, pinning the Vikings at their own 13-yard line with less than five minutes left in the half.
Peterson started the next drive with his best run of the night. . .for five yards. Two more carries by Peterson gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs at the three minute mark. Bradford then hit a HUGE pass to Stefon Diggs for 44 yards to the Green Bay 32-yard line! Back-to-back completions to Charles Johnson and Kyle Rudolph set the Vikings up with 4th-and-1 at the Green Bay 23, and it looked like Zimmer was going to go for it again, but Bradford simply tried to draw Green Bay offside. The Packers didn't jump, and the Vikings brought out Blair Walsh to attempt a field goal from 46 yards out. That gave the Vikings a 10-7 lead with under 30 seconds left in the half. That's where we sit as we go into halftime in our U.S. Bank Stadium debut.
The Vikings offense has been all through the air thus far. Bradford has completed 16-of-23 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs has been the main beneficiary of Bradford's solid play, reeling in five catches for 86 yards. Adam Thielen has chipped in with three catches for 36 yards, while Kyle Rudolph has contributed three grabs for 31 yards and the Vikings' lone touchdown. Adrian Peterson, on the other hand, has done next to nothing on the evening, gaining just 12 yards on nine carries and not having a run longer than five yards.
The Minnesota defense has been very effective against the Packers' offense thus far. Through one half of play, Aaron Rodgers is just 8-of-15 for 59 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Lacy has picked up just 16 yards on six carries. The Packers, in fact, have more yards as a result of Minnesota penalties (66) than they do actual net yards on offense (65) through one half of football.
We're halfway through the first game in the history of U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Vikings have a 10-7 lead over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Come join us for the second half of football, where the Packers will get possession first.