Live Updates: Green Bay Packers Beat Minnesota Vikings To Win NFC North
Follow the action from today’s game between the Green Bay Packers (11-3) and Minnesota Vikings (10-4), with the latest updates at the bottom, and join the conversation.
Minnesota will be without both of its top running backs. Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook was ruled out on Saturday and Alexander Mattison is among the Vikings’ inactives. Mike Boone, who has fewer rushing yards in 22 career games than Cook had against Green Bay in Week 2, will be the featured back.
For the Packers, defensive tackle Dean Lowry, who was the only player listed as questionable, is active. Who’s out? Receiver Ryan Grant, running back Dexter Williams, cornerbacks Tony Brown and Ka’dar Hollman, offensive linemen Alex Light and John Leglue, and tight end Jace Sternberger. Without Light and Leglue, who was claimed off waivers from the Saints on Saturday, veteran Jared Veldheer will be active for the first time in his brief Packers career.
What’s at stake
With a victory, the Packers will win the NFC North Division title and remain in control of at least a first-round bye. San Francisco and New Orleans are 12-3, and the Packers would improve to 12-3 with a victory. San Francisco and Green Bay each have two conference losses compared to three for New Orleans, so the Niners would be No. 1, the Packers would be No. 2 and the Saints would be No. 3. The Packers could earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if they win tonight and at Detroit on Sunday and if San Francisco loses at Seattle on Sunday night.
The Full World’s Best Preview
Packers 0, Vikings 0 (14:00 remaining)
The Packers got crushed at San Francisco after Aaron Rodgers was stripped on the opening series to gift-wrap an opening touchdown for the 49ers. On third-and-5, a quick pass to the left to Aaron Jones resulted in a fumble. Anthony Barr’s strip and Eric Kendricks’ recovery and return set up the Vikings at the 10.
Vikings 3, Packers 0 (13:11 remaining)
The score: Dan Bailey kicked a 23-yard field goal.
Key play: On second-and-goal at the 5, Za’Darius Smith tossed aside left tackle Riley Reiff to force a throwaway by Kirk Cousins. On third down, Cousins threw too high and too hard to fullback C.J. Ham for an incompletion. So, while the Vikings took an early lead, at least the Packers avoided a disastrous start.
Vikings 3, Packers 0 (8:37 remaining)
The Packers were on the move, highlighted by an 18-yard reception by Davante Adams. On third-and-7 from the outskirts of field-goal range, Aaron Rodgers took a chance on a deep ball to Allen Lazard against cornerback Mackensie Alexander. It was a one-on-one to a receiver with a 7-inch height advantage. Lazard, however, apparently didn’t see the ball and it fell harmlessly incomplete.
Vikings 3, Packers 3 (2:00 remaining)
The score: Mason Crosby booted a 42-yard field goal.
Key plays: It’s not the plays the Packers made but the ones they missed. On third-and-3, Aaron Rodgers just missed fullback Danny Vitale, who had a step on linebacker Eric Kendricks. At worst, it would have been first-and-goal inside the 5. Rodgers wanted a hold on Kendricks but didn’t get it. On third down, Rodgers flipped a pass in the flat to Jones but Jones bobbled the off-target ball and couldn’t make the play. Missed opportunities have been the difference for the offense for most of the season – the opening pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and missed deep passes to Jimmy Graham and Aaron Jones vs. Washington as recent examples – and cost the Packers a touchdown on this series.
Vikings 10, Packers 3 (13:33 remaining)
The score: Kirk Cousins, 0-8 for his career on “Monday Night Football,” threw a perfect deep ball to Stefon Diggs for a 21-yard touchdown against cornerback Jaire Alexander. Alexander’s coverage was good; Cousins’ throw was perfect.
Key play: On the first play of the second quarter, Aaron Rodgers’ streak of 277 consecutive passes without an interception came to an end as Vikings safety Anthony Harris ran underneath a route to Davante Adams and made a leaping interception. It was his sixth pick of the season and gave the Vikings the ball at Green Bay’ 26.
Vikings 10, Packers 6 (7:00 remaining).
The score: Mason Crosby made a 33-yard field goal.
Key plays: The Packers nickeled and dimed their way down the field. The biggest play was a third-and-1 completion to Davante Adams that gained 11. It was a quick pass in the flat, with Geronimo Allison making the key block on Xavier Rhodes to allow Adams to gain 12 after the catch. In the red zone, Rodgers had to throw it away on second down and his throw into traffic on third down was batted down by cornerback Mackensie Alexander.
Vikings 10, Packers 6 (4:52 remaining)
This week, David Bakhtiari called Za’Darius Smith the team’s best player. He’s been the best player in the first half. On first down, Mike Boone had a big hole off the left side but Smith got off the block and stopped Boone in his tracks to limit the play to 4 yards. On second down, he thrashed left tackle Riley Reiff for the sack.
Vikings 10, Packers 6 (4:07 remaining)
If Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams are the best players on offense and the team’s only hope of moving the ball consistently, how on Earth are they supposed to win a big game when they each have a turnover? This time, Rodgers fired a laser to Adams, who didn’t catch it cleanly but finally pulled it in but got it stripped by Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith. The Vikings took possession at the Packers’ 48 – their third drive starting on Green Bay’s side of the field.
Vikings 10, Packers 6 (2:37 remaining)
On third-and-4 from the 42, Minnesota turned to some trickery in hopes of taking a commanding lead before halftime. It almost worked. Receiver Stefon Diggs got the ball on a reverse and flipped a pass to quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was wide open up the right side of the field but the ball was overthrown. On fourth down, Cousins’ deep pass to Adam Thielen was overthrown. Green Bay’s defense, for the second time, escaped a disaster.
Vikings 10, Packers 9 (0:00 remaining)
The score: Mason Crosby made a 19-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Key plays: Again, it’s the plays the Packers didn’t make more than the plays they made. On second-and-10 from their 45, Aaron Rodgers hit wide-open tight end Jimmy Graham for a gain of 18 but Graham appeared to give up on the play before running out of bounds and cornerback Mike Hughes punched the ball loose. Receiver Geronimo Allison recovered but it cost the Packers a timeout. A screen to Jamaal Williams gained 11 but burned a lot of clock, a quick out to Davante Adams picked up 13 and short completions to Adams (6 yards) and Williams (8 yards) set up first-and-goal from just inside the 2-yard line with 7 seconds remaining. With one timeout, the Packers could have run the ball. Instead, Rodgers had to burn a timeout rather than take a delay of game. Coming out of that second wasted timeout, Rodgers’ pass to Adams was too far inside. Adams dropped it. So, it was a bad pass, a bad drop and a hard-to-swallow field goal.
The Packers had overwhelming advantages of 221-68 in yards and 13-2 in first downs but trailed 10-9 thanks to three turnovers and a couple missed red-zone opportunities. Aaron Rodgers was 18-of-30 passing for 156 yards with one interception and a 59.9 rating. Counterpart Kirk Cousins was 4-of-12 passing for 39 yards with one touchdown and a 71.2 rating. Za'Darius Smith was a force with one sack and three tackles for losses.
The Packers forced a three-and-out to start the second half. Meanwhile, Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks has been ruled out. He leads all NFL linebackers with 12 passes defensed.
Packers 17, Vikings 10 (2:03 remaining)
The score: Aaron Jones put the Packers in front with a 12-yard touchdown run. Receiver Allen Lazard’s block on cornerback Xavier Rhodes was the key to make it happen. Green Bay went for two, with Aaron Rodgers connecting with a sliding Geronimo Allison.
Key plays: With Minnesota moving the ball for the first time the entire game, Kirk Cousins went deep to receiver Stefon Diggs against cornerback Jaire Alexander. Fellow corner Kevin King bolted to the middle and made the interception – his fifth of the season – and returned the ball 39 yards to the 47. On third-and-2 with the Packers in position for a long field goal, Rodgers connected with Davante Adams for 6 yards and a first down.
With the Packers back on the field, Jamaal Williams (shoulder) is questionable.
Packers 17, Vikings 10 (7:40 remaining)
Green Bay’s defense delivered again. On first down, Kevin King dropped tight end for minus-1. On second down, Jaire Alexander limited a pass to Ameer Abdullah to 3 yards. On third-and-8, defensive tackle Kenny Clark sacked Kirk Cousins to force a punt.
Packers 23, Vikings 10 (5:51 remaining)
The score: Aaron Jones scored on a 56-yard touchdown run to potentially send the Packers to the NFC North championship. The left side of the Packers’ line created a big hole, Jones ran through two arm-tackle attempts and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling delivered a block on the perimeter. Jones jogged the final 20-or-so yards.
Key play: It was rushing touchdown No. 16 – most in the NFL and second-most in franchise history. Jim Taylor rushed for 19 touchdowns in 1962. Ahman Green (2003) and Taylor (1961) had 15 rushing touchdowns.
Packers 23, Vikings 10 (3:34 remaining)
The Vikings had a long touchdown called back as left tackle Riley Reiff, who is having a miserable game, all but tackled outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell. On fourth-and-25, Mike Zimmer brought out the punt team to a chorus of boos from a record crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium.
FINAL: PACKERS 23, VIKINGS 10
Behind an absolutely dominating defensive performance and a heavy dose of Aaron Jones and Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers rallied past the Minnesota Vikings 23-10 to win the NFC North.
Za’Darius Smith had 3.5 sacks and five tackles for losses to help limit the Vikings to 139 yards and seven first downs.
Meanwhile, Aaron Jones overcame a first-possession fumble to 154 yards and two touchdowns. Adams caught one short pass after another, turning 13 receptions into 116 yards.
Green Bay dominated statistically, other than three first-half giveaways. It played much better in the second half, though, to earn its first victory in four trips to U.S. Bank Stadium.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins fell to 0-9 on “Monday Night Football.” The more he struggled, the more he was booed; the longer the Vikings struggled, the louder the “Go Pack Go” chants rang through the stadium.