Vikings beat Rodgers, Vikings beat Packers 34-31 at FG finish
Minneapolis To Mike Zimmer’s horror, the Minnesota Vikings are totally accustomed to these high-pressure white-knuckle finishes.
All that experience should pay off. They brilliantly followed the winning formula to beat Green Bay by making sure Aaron Rodgers was on the sidelines at the end and not on the field.
Greg Joseph scored a 29-yard field goal with the timeout to give the Vikings a 34-31 victory over the Packers in a classic home-and-away game with their division rival and long sprinter.
You know how they say, ‘Sunday is a fun day? ‘ said a weary Zimmer after the match was decided in the last shot for the sixth time in 10 matches. The Vikings (5-5) won three and lost three of them.
The only team in the NFL this year to lead by seven or more points in every game, all but one of Minnesota’s games are decided by one point. Kirk Cousins passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns to help the Vikings stay one step ahead of Rodgers for most of the afternoon.
“Hopefully going forward with finding our way to put the forks into teams, and put them away when we have to, but we’re still trying to learn how to do that,” said Patrick Peterson. “I think continuing in these situations will continue to improve us.”
Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, all on Green Bay’s full last four possessions, except for kneeling down to finish the first half. All of those engines covered 74 yards or more.
Rodgers finished 23-for-33 in a season peak of 385 yards for the packers (8-3). After losing time earlier to COVID-19, Rodgers has been unable to train much this week due to a toe injury.
“It’s very painful. I went up in the first half, and that kind of revitalized all the symptoms I’ve been having,” Rodgers said.
Justin Jefferson had eight receptions for 169 yards and two degrees for the Vikings, including a catch for third against Novice Eric Stokes who was handed the Cousins for a 23-yard touchdown while faked in a lightning attack by Darnell Savage. Dalvin Cook ran in the two-point conversion to make up for an extra point missed earlier by Joseph.
In the next play of the melee, Rodgers threw a rainbow to Marquez Valdes-Scantling past safety Xavier Woods at 75 yards to equalize the game two minutes before a warning.
“Every playing with this guy is a fight. You just hope, when they go down and score in one game, that the offense will come back and do what they did,” Zimmer said. “So I was so proud of them for that.”
When the Vikings got the ball back, Cousins himself almost tasked the comeback with bringing down Jefferson a bit, whom Savage sprinted in front of to intercept the ball. He swayed his way down, and the replay review canceled the call.
Then Cousins went 3-for-3 for 51 yards on the next three shots, and Cook—who lunged for 86 yards and landed—ran down another one. Then the Vikings knelt twice to take the last kick by Joseph.
“It’s just life in the NFL. It’s exciting. I definitely understand why people want to follow and watch it,” Cousins said.
The Vikings scored their highest score against the Packers since their 38-3 loss to New Orleans in their season opener. Green Bay has given up only 34 points over the previous three games.
Preston Smith had two bags, but the Packers players didn’t have the same fast passes with outside quarterback Rashaan Gary (elbow) sidelined. Zadarius Smith and Whitney Mercellus also came off long-term injuries.
Rodgers threw to Davante Adams twice for a touchdown, including an 18-yard shot in third and sixth midway through the fourth quarter when he was trying to call a timeout before the gun shot.
Adams scored 12 reception games against the Vikings, the most for an opponent.
“When you play a thrilling attack and you have a quarterback, a great receiver and a back-to-back, you have to keep scoring,” Rodgers said. “We have to start faster.”
Jefferson became the first player in the league this season to have the top 100 yards in the first quarter. He drew a 37-yard entry penalty on Savage in the second quarter, a huge boost on a campaign that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Thielen in third and the goal for a 16-3 lead. Kingsley’s helmet-to-helmet hit of Kiki on the Cousins resulted in a harsh penalty and erased Savage’s objection to that eventful possession.
For all the aggressive-fueled success, the Vikings swayed the momentum for the visitors when their sweep of the draw to linebacker CJ Ham stopped in third and one at 29 without a gain late in the second quarter. The Packers went the other way as Josiah DeGuara made his career debut to cut the lead to 16-10.
Packers: Elgton Jenkins fell in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury to his left knee and was taken to the locker room. After picking the Pro Bowl in 2020 at LG, Jenkins replaced David Bakhtiari at LT this season. Bakhtiari is not yet back from the torn ACL he suffered last year.
Vikings: Peterson (hamstring) is back from missing three games. He missed some time while receiving treatment on the sidelines late in the second quarter but came back after the break.
The Packers host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday, trying to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time since a three-game slip-up that led to coach Mike McCarthy’s sacking on December 2, 2018.
The Vikings play in San Francisco next Sunday.
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