The Minnesota Vikings went into their game against the Green Bay Packers knowing that it was a huge contest for their season going forward. On a day when the division opened up considerably, they went out and did what they needed to do.
Fueled by their defense and the opportunity to take advantage of an inexperienced backup quarterback, the Vikings took down their division rivals from Wisconsin by a final score of 23-10 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The two teams were scoreless after the first quarter, but the big news came on Green Bay’s second offensive possession, Aaron Rodgers rolled to his right and was taken down by Anthony Barr, slamming his throwing shoulder into the U.S. Bank Stadium turf. Rodgers went to the medical tent, and was ultimately carted back to the locker room. The Packers were forced to go with Brett Hundley at the quarterback position after that play.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Vikings dented the scoreboard as they beat a Green Bay blitz with a beautiful screen from Case Keenum to Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon did the rest, as he weaved through the Green Bay defense for a 27-yard touchdown. Kai Forbath connected on the extra point, giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead just seconds into the second quarter of play.
Green Bay got on the board by taking advantage of a big Minnesota mistake, as Jerick McKinnon put the ball on the ground deep in Green Bay territory and Clay Matthews scooped up the fumble. Matthews returned the ball all the way to the Minnesota 17-yard line, and three plays later Hundley took advantage, finding Davante Adams for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Mason Crosby connected on the extra point, and the score was suddenly tied, 7-7.
Minnesota answered on the next drive, as McKinnon got into the end zone once again, courtesy of a three-yard touchdown run. The drive was set up by a big pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive as Adam Thielen was held, giving Minnesota the ball in Green Bay territory. That gave the Vikings a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Mason Crosby connected on a 26-yard field goal just after the two-minute warning, cutting the Minnesota lead to 14-10. To start the second half, Kai Forbath connected from 36 to once again make the Minnesota lead seven points at 17-10. Forbath then also got the first points of the fourth quarter, connecting from 34 yards out to make it a two-possession game at 20-10.
Following an interception by Harrison Smith, Forbath did his job once again, bombing one home from 53 yards out to give the Vikings an even larger lead, 23-10. Forbath was responsible for all the scoring in the second half, as that’s how this one ended as Brett Hundley’s last minute pass towards the end zone was intercepted by Trae Waynes to ice the game for the home team.
Offensively, it wasn’t a great statistical game for the Vikings. Case Keenum had an average day behind center, as he completed 24-of-38 passes for 239 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Adam Thielen came up just short of another 100-yard receiving performance, reeling in nine catches for 97 yards to pace the Vikings in that category. Laquon Treadwell had three catches for 51 yards for Minnesota, and Kyle Rudolph had 47 yards on five catches.
Jerick McKinnon had a very solid game for the second week in a row, scoring both of Minnesota’s touchdowns. He had 16 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown to lead the Vikings in rushing, and also chipped in with 30 yards on five receptions and another touchdown. Latavius Murray got 15 carries, but managed just 28 yards.
The big story of this one, however, was the Minnesota defense. After Rodgers went out with the injury, the defense made things miserable for Hundley all afternoon. Green Bay picked up just 14 first downs on the afternoon, many coming late in the contest. They had three interceptions of Hundley, as Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Harrison Smith each collected one, and sacked Hundley three times.
With the victory, the Vikings climb to 4-2 and, if the Lions’ score against the New Orleans Saints holds up, will technically lead the NFC North via the head-to-head tiebreaker over Green Bay. They’ll host the Baltimore Ravens at U.S. Bank Stadium next weekend. Green Bay falls to 4-2 and will host the New Orleans Saints next weekend at Lambeau Field.
The Vikings defeat their rivals from Green Bay in the Border Battle by a final score of 23-10. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!