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Minnesota Vikings 23, Green Bay Packers 7: Kevin O’Connell era starts with a win

Victory over an NFC North rival!

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Going into today, the Minnesota Vikings had not been over .500 since 11 January 2020, the day they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. On Sunday, that streak was broken.

Paced by an amazing game from Justin Jefferson, the Vikings raced out to a 20-0 lead over the Green Bay Packers in the season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium and went on to win by a score of 23-7.

The Vikings got the football first and marched straight down the field against the Green Bay defense. The drive went 78 yards in 10 plays, with three passes going to Justin Jefferson, including a 5-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-1. Greg Joseph hit the extra point and the Vikings were up 7-0 early.

The Vikings’ defense dodged an early bullet when Packers’ rookie Christian Watson dropped what would have been a 75-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers on Green Bay’s first play from scrimmage. The two teams exchanged punts, and we even saw former Packer Za’Darius Smith get his first sack as a Viking to snuff out Green Bay’s second possession.

The Packers marched down the field early in the second quarter and got themselves to a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but the Vikings’ new-look run defense stood tall and stuffed A.J. Dillon short of the goal line.

The Vikings added points on their next possession, courtesy of the right foot of Greg Joseph. He split the uprights on a 28-yard field goal attempt and the Vikings increased their lead to 10-0 with four minutes left in the half.

After a three-and-out for the Packers, the Vikings added to the lead again, as Cousins found Jefferson for his second score of the day. This one was a 36-yarder and it gave the Vikings a 17-0 lead.

Harrison Smith threw in an interception of Rodgers at the end of the half, and the Vikings went into the locker room up big.

The turnover bug bit Green Bay again on the first drive of the second half, as Jordan Hicks sacked Aaron Rodgers and forced a fumble that was recovered by Dalvin Tomlinson at the Green Bay 33. Unfortunately, the Vikings only turned it into three points, as Greg Joseph came in and drilled a 56-yard field goal to extend the lead to 20-0.

Green Bay finally got on the board on their next possession, courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run from A.J. Dillon. That made the score 20-7 with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter of play.

Minnesota added to their lead with just under seven minutes remaining on Joseph’s third field goal, a 29-yarder to make it 23-7 in favor of the purple. The Packers had a chance to close the gap late in the fourth quarter, but Rodgers’ fourth-down pass was broken up by Eric Kendricks for a turnover on downs and the Vikings ran out the clock from there.

Jefferson was the star today, as many expected. He set a new career high with 184 yards receiving on nine receptions, as well as scoring both of the Vikings’ touchdowns on the day. The defense took Aaron Rodgers down four times and held him to a passer rating of below 70, while Kirk Cousins threw for 277 yards and a quarterback rating of 118.9.

The Vikings move to 1-0 on the season, and next week will make their only Monday Night Football appearance of the season when they travel east to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers fall to 0-1 and they’ll return to Lambeau Field next weekend when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football.

Your Minnesota Vikings take down the Green Bay Packers in the 2022 season opener by a final score of 23-7. Thank you to all of you that got your coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!