The win improved the Vikings’ record to 2-5, while it dropped the Packers — who have lost two of their last three — to 5-2.
IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
Green Bay took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards, taking 7:59 off of the clock. It culminated in an Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams five-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings countered with their own sustained drive, taking 6:14 off of the clock in moving 73 yards. The drive was capped by a 21-yard Dalvin Cook touchdown run. On the drive, Cook accounted for 44 yards on the ground and another 13 in receiving.
Green Bay came right back. This time, it was a 15-play, 72-yard drive that ate 8:54 of play clock. Rodgers found Adams again, this time from a yard out, and the Pack was back on top, 14-7.
Minnesota would not crumble. A 12-play, 67 yard drive that took 6:22 off of the clock, ended in a Cook three-yard rushing touchdown — his second of the game — and with basically two first half possessions each, the teams entered the locker room tied at 14.
SECOND VERSE, MUCH LIKE THE FIRST
With high winds affecting the passing game, The Vikings continued riding Cook. The groin injury he incurred in the Week 6 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks appeared to have no effect on his production.
Cook ripped off a 37-yard run on the first play from scrimmage after halftime and scored his third rushing touchdown of the game to cap an 85-yard drive, giving the Vikings the lead at 21-14.
After holding Green Bay on its first drive of the second half, the Vikings took over at their own 37-yard-line following a punt. This time, they needed just four plays to hit paydirt. On 3rd-and-9, Kirk Cousins hit Cook with a screen pass. With some great blocking in front and moves more elusive than Eric Cartman trying to avoid a vaccination, Dalvin went 50 yards for his fourth touchdown of the game and a 28-14 Minnesota lead.
The Vikings would have their next two drives stall. One ended after what appeared to be a questionable offensive pass interference call on tight end Irv Smith, Jr. The other was a quick three-and-out when Cook was stuffed on a 3rd-and-1 for a two-yard loss with 6:42 left in the game.
There was plenty of time for some Aaron Rodgers’ magic but it was the Vikings’ inability to make a player disappear that kept the Packers’ drive alive. On 3rd-and-4 from the Green Bay 45, Ifeadi Odenigbo sacked Rodgers back at the Packers’ 35-yard line. It would have been a fourth-and-long, but rookie linebacker Troy Dye never got his feet down on the sidelines before the snap. The penalty yardage was good for a first down and the drive continued, ending with Rodgers finding Adams for the touchdown hat-trick from seven yards out. Jamaal Williams would add the two-point conversion, and the game was now interesting, with the Vikings clinging to a 28-22 lead with 2:42 left to play.
The Vikings could only net 15 yards, and thanks to the two-minute warning and Green Bay having all of its timeouts, the Packers would take over at its 28 with 47 seconds to play.
Vikings fans began to feel that pain in the pit of their stomachs that routinely comes when a next-level quarterback has a chance to beat them late.
Rodgers would complete three passes for 31 yards and would spike the ball with 12 seconds to play and the ball on the Minnesota 41-yard line. Rodgers took the snap and rolled out to his right. Hearts stopped throughout the Minneapolis metropolitan area because, when Aaron rolls right, bad things tend to happen — but that wouldn’t be the case on this day. Vikings rookie defensive end D.J. Wonnum caught Rodgers from behind just as he cranked back his arm, and it never got going forward with the ball in it. The strip-sack ended in linebacker Eric Wilson recovering the ball at the Vikings’ 24-yard line, as the game ended in a gutsy win for Minnesota.
It was a particularly satisfying win as, by the end of the game, the Minnesota secondary resembled a bunch of temps hired from an online job site.
BY THE NUMBERS
Kirk Cousins would throw just 14 passes on the day, completing 11 for 160 yards and a touchdown. Adam Thielen would lead the Vikings’ receiving corps with 27 yards on three catches, while rookie phenom Justin Jefferson would have just 26 yards on his three catches.
The shining star of this one for the Minnesota offense was Dalvin Cook. He toted the rock 30 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns. He would also add 63 yards in receptions, including that dazzling 50-yard screen pass for a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Eric Kendricks was everywhere, amassing 12 total tackles (eight solo) on the day. Harrison Smith patrolled the secondary in grand fashion with eight total tackles (five solo) and a beautiful pass breakup in the end zone on a 4th-and-10 midway through the third quarter.
Aaron Rodgers would have a solid 27-of-41 day for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Jamaal Williams, filling in for an injured Aaron Jones, gained 75 rushing yards on 16 carries for the game. Robert Tonyan led all receivers with 79 yards on five catches. Adams would end the game with seven catches for 53 yards and three touchdowns.
The Vikings return home to face another division rival in the Detroit Lions, who come off a 41-21 beat down at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Packers have a quick turnaround as they head out to Santa Clara to take on the 49ers, who dropped a 37-27 decision to the Seattle Seahawks while also losing quarterback Jimmy Garappolo to an ankle injury.
(Featured Image Credit: Vikings.com)