Either way, neither team was happy with the tie forged on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The Packers blew a 20-7 lead and went 1-of-5 in the red zone. Rookie Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed three field goals, including a 35-yarder on the final play of overtime.
“It doesn’t feel good,” Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. “It doesn’t feel like a win. It feels like a loss. I’m sure they probably share that same belief in the Vikings’ locker room just because both teams had a number of opportunities to win this game.”
With quarterback Aaron Rodgers playing through an injured left knee, the Packers took a 23-14 lead on Mason Crosby’s 31-yard field goal with 7:35 remaining in the game. That two-score margin didn’t last long. On the second play of the ensuing possession, Kirk Cousins hit receiver Stefon Diggs for a 75-yard touchdown. After Green Bay answered with a 48-yard field goal by Crosby to lead 26-21 with 2:13 remaining, Cousins’ pass deflected off the hands of receiver Laquon Treadwell and into the hands of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for an interception that he returned to the 13.
The Packers, however, couldn’t put the game away. A second-down pass into the end zone to Davante Adams was knocked loose by safety Harrison Smith. A third-down pass into the end zone to Adams was incomplete. Crosby booted a 36-yarder to make it an eight-point game with 1:48 remaining.
On the first play, Cousins went deep to receiver Stacy Coley but was intercepted by cornerback Jaire Alexander. For the second consecutive week, however, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged for roughing the passer on what might have been a clinching play.
“I know there’s an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks but it’s gotten out of control,” Matthews said.
The Vikings took advantage. On first down from the Packers’ 22, Cousins threw a perfect deep pass to receiver Adam Thielen while getting drilled by defensive tackle Mike Daniels. The ball went between Alexander and safety Kentrell Brice, with Thielen making the grab while falling into the end zone. Cousins’ two-point pass to Diggs tied the game with 31 seconds to go.
Green Bay had a chance to win as Rodgers connected with tight end Jimmy Graham for a gain of 27, but Crosby — who had made his first five field-goal attempts — misfired from 52 yards.
In overtime, Carlson missed from 49 yards on the opening possession. Green Bay moved into scoring position but the gimpy Rodgers tried to fool the Vikings with a keeper but fumbled when pulling the ball away from running back Jamaal Williams. Rodgers recovered and was sacked on third down.
Completions of 12 yards to Diggs and 25 yards from Thielen put the Vikings into position to win but Carlson missed badly to the right.
“You know what, guys are supposed to do their jobs,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “Maybe we should’ve thrown a ball into the end zone a couple of times at the end, but I believed that the guy was going to make the kick. He said to put it into the middle of the field and I put it dead smack in the middle and in practice every day, he drills them. So, that’s the disappointing thing for me, we come out here and we do that. We almost had a punt blocked last week and we didn’t and we got one this week. We’re going to be cranking on this special teams good now.”
Cousins was sensational, finishing 35 of 48 for 425 yards. Thielen caught 12 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown and Diggs caught nine passes for 128 yards and two scores.
Rodgers was 30 of 42 for 281 yards and one touchdown for Green Bay, which took a 7-0 lead on Geronimo Allison’s blocked punt, which was recovered for a touchdown by cornerback Josh Jackson.
“I’m pretty sore right now,” Rodgers said. “Sore in some other spots too, so that’s kind of taken away from the knee pain. The guys in the training room do a fantastic job, got me ready to play, felt good yesterday at practice, knew the adrenaline would kick in and I’d start to feel a little better. Not sure what my status will be for practice next week. But I feel good that I was able to make it through the game. Just disappointed with the last couple plays.”