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Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: Third Quarter Open Thread

Minnesota has a four-point lead at halftime, and will get the ball first to start the second half

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

After a scoreless first quarter, the Minnesota Vikings were knocking on the door in Green Bay Packers territory to start the second quarter of play. Case Keenum saw the blitz coming and hit Jerick McKinnon on a brilliantly executed screen pass, and McKinnon did the rest, weaving 27 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Kai Forbath added the extra point, and the Vikings took a 7-0 lead.

Jeff Janis took the ensuing kickoff for the Packers and returned the kick to the Green Bay 15. The Packers couldn’t do much, as they went three-and-out with Brian Robison and Harrison Smith splitting a sack on third down to end the drive. Justin Vogel came in to punt once again, and he shanked one that went out of bounds in Green Bay territory at the 42-yard line.

McKinnon picked up right where he left off, taking a handoff from Keenum on first down and dashing 20 yards down to the Green Bay 22. However, on the next play, McKinnon put the ball on the turf and it bounced right into the hands of Clay Matthews. Matthews brought it all the way down to the Minnesota 18-yard line.

Green Bay took advantage of the miscue, as Brett Hundley (in at quarterback for the injured Aaron Rodgers) had his first NFL touchdown pass, as he found a wide open Davante Adams for a 14-yard touchdown. Mason Crosby hit the extra point, and just like that the game was tied at 7.

Stacy Coley fielded the ensuing kickoff for the Vikings and returned it to the 16-yard line to set the Vikings up for their next drive. On the first play, Keenum was looking deep for Adam Thielen, and the Packers were called for pass interference to put the ball into Green Bay territory at the 42. Keenum then found Thielen again for another first down, and then hit Kyle Rudolph for another one down to the Green Bay 17.

After a run from Latavius Murray, Rudolph took a shovel pass down to the 2, and three plays later, McKinnon found himself in the end zone again, this time on a 3-yard run. Forbath was good on the extra point again, and the Vikings were back on top 14-7 midway through the quarter.

Green Bay went three-and-out on their next drive, as Harrison Smith came in on another safety blitz and took Hundley down for a big loss. Justin Vogel punted the ball away, and Marcus Sherels had an uncharacteristically bad return that saw him lose a few yards back to the Minnesota 18-yard line.

Keenum got the offense moving on the possession with a nice pass to Adam Thielen on third down to pick up 20 yards to the 38. Unfortunately, on the next play, Case Keenum threw the first interception by a Minnesota quarterback this season, as a pass intended for Michael Floyd was tipped and picked off by Damarious Randall and returned into Minnesota territory at the 38.

Green Bay appeared to potentially have a touchdown following the interception, but Ty Montgomery did not control the ball prior to getting into the end zone, so the ruling on the field was changed to an incomplete pass. As a result, the Packers were forced to call on Mason Crosby for a 26-yard field goal attempt. Crosby connected, cutting the Minnesota lead to 14-10 just after the two-minute warning.

Minnesota started their next drive at their own 25-yard line following a touchback on the kickoff. McKinnon started the drive with a nice 12-yard gain on a draw play. Keenum then found Laquon Treadwell for a big gain into Green Bay territory at the 43, and then found Thielen for nine more. McKinnon then carried the ball for a first down to the Green Bay 30. However, back-to-back 15-yard penalties, one on Mike Remmers for a face mask and one on Treadwell for a blindside block, made it 1st-and-40. Yes, first and forty. Since there aren’t a lot of plays in the playbook for 1st-and-40, the Vikings ran a few plays to put themselves into a 4th down situation at midfield. Keenum launched a Hail Mary, and it looked like Thielen had a shot at it, but it fell incomplete and that’s how we went into halftime.

The stats haven’t been great for the home team thus far. Keenum has completed 13-of-22 passes for 137 yards, one touchdown, and one interception through one half of play. On the rushing front, Jerick McKinnon has 11 carries for 54 yards and a score, but did have the costly fumble that led directly to a Green Bay touchdown. Latavius Murray has 20 yards on six carries, and Keenum has a 16-yard scramble to his credit.

In the receiving column, Thielen is leading the way with five catches for 55 yards. McKinnon has two grabs for 27 yards and a score, and Kyle Rudolph has three catches for 23 yards. Treadwell has one 18-yard reception, Murray has one catch for nine yards, and Michael Floyd (who started for the injured Stefon Diggs) has one catch for five yards.

As we go into halftime at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings hold a 14-10 lead over the Green Bay Packers, and will get the ball first coming out of the locker room at halftime. Can they hold on and win this big Border Battle and take over first place in the NFC North?