On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings had an opportunity to solidify their spot at #2 in the NFC and knock the Green Bay Packers out of the NFC playoff picture.
They didn’t even come close.
The Vikings turned the ball over four times and didn’t take advantage of early opportunities, as they fell to the Packers at Lambeau Field by a final score of 41-17.
After the Vikings punted on their first possession, Josh Metellus got his second blocked punt in as many weeks to set up a first-and-goal at the Green Bay 1-yard line.
.@noexcuses_23 gets his hand on another punt. #Skol— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 1, 2023
: @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/kawsNZlsX4
Unfortunately, the Vikings could only turn the blocked punt into three points, settling for a 21-yard field goal by Greg Joseph to make it 3-0.
That lead held up for just about ten seconds, as Keisean Nixon took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 105 yards for a touchdown to give Green Bay the lead, 7-3, with just over ten minutes left in the first quarter. On their next possession, the Packers had a 4th-and-1 from the Minnesota 39, but Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Dalvin Tomlinson to end the drive.
The Vikings then faced their own 4th-and-2 situation from the Green Bay 37-yard line, and Kirk Cousins’ pass went off the hands of T.J. Hockenson and into the hands of Darnell Savage, who returned it 75 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-3 less than ten minutes into the game.
The Packers added to their lead early in the second quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to make it 17-3 with less than ten minutes left in the half. Soon after that, Cousins threw his second interception of the afternoon, as his pass was tipped and picked off by Adrian Amos to thwart what had been the Vikings’ best drive of the afternoon.
Green Bay cashed in on the turnover, as Aaron Rodgers found Robert Tonyan for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 24-3 with just under three minutes left in the half. They then added more points heading into the locker room, as Mason Crosby bounced a 55-yarder off the crossbar to make it 27-3 going into the locker room at halftime.
After the Packers punted to start the second half, the Vikings put together one of their better drives of the afternoon, but that ended in another turnover as Cousins was strip-sacked by Kenny Clark deep in Green Bay territory, with Clark recovering the loose ball. The Packers turned it into points, as A.J. Dillon cashed in on a 2-yard touchdown run to push the score to 34-3 early in the fourth quarter.
Cousins then threw another interception, this one to Rudy Ford on the first play after the touchdown. That was the Vikings’ fourth turnover of the afternoon and just added a little more to the pain for Vikings fans in this one. Green Bay turned that turnover into points as well, with Rodgers running it in from two yards out to make it 41-3 with less than ten minutes remaining.
There was one highlight to be had for the Vikings, even if it took them a while to get there. Rookie Jalen Nailor had his first NFL touchdown reception, as he caught a 47-yard pass from Cousins midway through the fourth quarter to make it 41-10. Congratulations to him on what will hopefully be the first of many.
The Vikings followed it up with one more touchdown, as Nick Mullens threw his first touchdown pass as a Viking, finding K.J. Osborn for a nine-yard score with seconds remaining to provide the final margin.
The Vikings fall to 12-4 on the season and will finish off the regular season with a trip to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears. The Packers finally get back to .500 at 8-8 and will host the Detroit Lions next Sunday in a game that could be a “win and in” scenario for both teams.
The Vikings lose a tough one at Lambeau Field, as they fall to the Green Bay Packers by a final score of 41-17. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!