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Vikings SMR: Packers Edition

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings beat the Packers by sticking to their aggressive formula on offense. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings capitalized on throwing it up to Justin Jefferson a number of times, but it nearly cost them the game late, on a pass initially ruled an interception but on further review proved to be an incompletion. That, and an INT whiff by Rasul Douglas later in the Vikings final drive, was enough for the Vikings to drive inside the Packers ten yard line inside of two minutes, and then rundown the clock for a field goal by Greg Joseph, giving the Vikings the W, 34-31.

The Vikings and Kirk Cousins didn’t have much trouble driving the ball and scoring against the vaunted Packers defense, scoring 4 touchdowns and 2 field goals in a total of 9 drives.

Defensively, the Vikings were helped early on by a number of Packers penalties, which put them behind the 8-ball. But Aaron Rodgers and company responded in the second half, taking a one-point lead in the third quarter, and tying the game just before the 2-minute warning on a blown coverage which allowed a one-play, 75 yard TD drive. But the Vikings executed a successful 2-minute drill to walk off with a victory against Aaron Rodgers, who faced little pressure the whole game, and his 148.4 passer rating.
Kirk Cousins was no slouch, going 24/35 for 341 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a 128.4 passer rating en route to the game winning drive.

With that, let’s move on to the stock market report and individual performances.

Blue Chip Stocks

Justin Jefferson. JJ won his matchups early and often, finishing the day with 8 receptions on 10 targets for a mere 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. His contested catch for the Vikings final touchdown was an excellent play by an elite receiver bursting with confidence.

Kirk Cousins. Besides putting up elite stats, Cousins delivered on the Vikings final two drives, out dueling Rodgers and engineering the victory drive. He faced more pressure than Rodgers too, and delivered a couple big time throws under pressure that made the difference. He almost got caught going to the well one too many times to JJ on the final drive, but the Packers DB was unable to maintain control of the ball, resulting in an incompletion.

Adam Thielen. Once again overshadowed by JJ, Thielen still managed a number of key receptions, and a total of 8 receptions on 10 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Solid Investments

Dalvin Cook. Cook had 66 of his 86 yards after contact, earning every yard, if not being quite as explosive because of it. He also had a TD and key 2-point conversion. He might’ve had another TD on the Vikings last drive, but went down to prevent the Packers from getting the ball back- a smart move for the Vikings considering the defensive struggles the Vikings had against the Packers in the second half.

Bashaud Breeland. The Vikings secondary got lit up pretty well, but it wasn’t Breeland who gave up the yards. Breeland gave up just 25 yards on 5 targets, allow just 2 receptions with a PBU.

Greg Joseph. He missed an extra point that might’ve been crucial, but nailed 3 others and both field goal attempts including a 51-yarder early and the walk-off game winner from 29 yards.

Junk Bonds

Most of the Vikings Defense. Apart from Breeland, there really wasn’t much to like from the Vikings defenders in this game. Rodgers had plenty of time to throw all afternoon, and the only pressures came after 3+ seconds in the pocket. This made it difficult on the secondary, who was forced to cover for extended time. But the secondary also gave up some easy completions, including a 75 yarder to MVS late to tie the game.

The one mitigating factor for the defensive line was that they did generate some holding calls early, which helped stall some first half drives, but overall the Vikings defense did little on their own to slow down the Packers.

Where We Go From Here

The Vikings got to 500 with this victory- both a .500 record and the 500th victory in franchise history. Taking down the Packers puts them in the 6th seed currently, and keeps the division race alive. Should the Packers lose one more non-Vikings game than the Vikings the rest of the season, and the Vikings beat them in Green Bay, the Vikings would take the division crown. The Packers face the Rams next weekend, and also have games at the Ravens and home against the Browns

After the road game at the 49ers next weekend, the Vikings schedule gets easier the rest of the way, with the Bears twice, Lions, Steelers, with the Rams and Packers back-to-back after Christmas. The 49ers have been playing tough the last two games, so coming out of Santa Clara with a victory looks tougher now than it did a few weeks ago.

In any case, this victory over the Packers puts the Vikings in the NFC playoff picture, with everything still to play for.

Poll

Which QB played better in this game?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Kirk Cousins
    (1497 votes)
  • 24%
    Aaron Rodgers
    (475 votes)
1972 votes total Vote Now