To start this Christmas Eve Eve contest at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers won the coin toss and elected to take the football first, meaning the Minnesota Vikings would be putting their defense on the field to start the festivities. Kai Forbath put his foot to the pigskin, and a very short kickoff was taken by Jeff Janis to the Green Bay 31-yard line. Brett Hundley led the Green Bay offense out onto the field, and the home team picked up a first down courtesy of a pass to Randall Cobb and a run by Jamaal Williams. However, they could not get another one, as the Vikings’ NFL-best third down defense got a stop on 3rd and 6. The Packers brought Justin Vogel in to punt it away, and he got a very short punt off, allowing the Vikings to start from their own 30.
Case Keenum led the Minnesota offense out onto the field, and started the drive with a handoff to Latavius Murray for a short gain. Keenum then got his first completion of the evening, as he hit Stefon Diggs for a nice 17-yard gain to midfield. After another short run by Murray, Jerick McKinnon took a handoff into Green Bay territory to set up third and short. Minnesota converted the third down, as Keenum found Jarius Wright for a completion to the Green Bay 34.
Following a third straight first down run by Murray and an incomplete screen attempt to McKinnon, Keenum attempted to hit Adam Thielen on third down, but the pass was batted away. That forced Mike Zimmer to call on Forbath for a 49-yard field goal attempt, and “Cobra” Kai put it through the uprights for the first points of the night, giving the Vikings a 3-0 lead.
The ensuing kickoff from Forbath was another short one, and it was taken to the 28-yard line by Trevor Davis. Hundley was dropped for a loss on a keeper on first down by Harrison Smith. Smith then blew up a swing pass to Randall Cobb for no gain, and the Packers ran a draw on third-and-long that did not gain the required yardage. and the Packers punted again. Marcus Sherels got an opportunity to return Vogel’s punt the second time, and brought the ball to the Minnesota 28-yard line.
Keenum was forced to throw the ball away on first down, and then found Diggs on second down to bring up 3rd-and-2. Keenum was then sacked on third down by Kenny Clark, giving the Vikings their first three-and-out of the evening. Ryan Quigley came in to punt the ball away, and Trevor Davis was taken down on the punt return at the Green Bay 28.
Hundley failed to connect with Jordy Nelson on first down, and Aaron Jones had a short run on second down to bring up another third down situation for the Packers’ offense. Hundley then completed a short pass to Nelson on third down, and the Vikings’ defense closed in to stop him short of the sticks. Vogel came in for his third punt of the night, and it went out of bounds at the Minnesota 32.
Murray broke a nice gain on first down, taking a handoff for eight yards. Left guard Nick Easton injured his right leg on the play and needed to be helped off of the field, with Jeremiah Sirles coming in to replace him. Murray then moved the chains as he took another handoff from Keenum and went to the 44-yard line. Murray then got a third straight touch, as he rambled into Green Bay territory for 12 yards and another first down.
Keenum then tried a deep shot for Diggs, and though the pass fell incomplete, Josh Hawkins was flagged for pass interference to give the Vikings the ball at the Green Bay 6-yard line for a first-and-goal. After a short run by Murray on first down, Keenum lofted one for Diggs in the back left corner of the end zone, and he brought it in for the score. Forbath added the extra point, and the Vikings extended their lead to 10-0 with under a minute remaining in the quarter.
Forbath hit another short kickoff, and it was returned by Davis to the Green Bay 22. As we move to the second quarter of play, the Packers are looking at another third down, this one 3rd-and-2 from their own 30.
Minnesota has an early lead in this one by a score of 10-0. Come on in and join us for the second quarter of play!