Game Recap: Packers Beat Vikings 37-10, Clinch Top Seed in NFC

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week seventeen win against the Vikings.

There are few things sweeter than January football at Lambeau Field.

For the second straight season, the Green Bay Packers (13-3, 4-1 NFC North) have clinched the NFC’s top seed and a first-round playoff bye after a dominant 37-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings (7-9, 3-2 NFC North) Sunday night.

The Vikings won the toss and deferred, so quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were the first to take the field in week seventeen. Rodgers and star wide receiver Davante Adams dominated the Vikings on their opening possession, moving the chains twice on 19- and 30-yard pass plays, respectively. However, the rest of the offense struggled to make much of anything happen and, after tight end Josiah Deguara dropped what would have been a touchdown, Green Bay was forced to settle for a field goal. Despite a shaky hold, kicker Mason Crosby’s 35-yard attempt was good, and the Packers took an early 3-0 lead.

Minnesota’s starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out of this week’s game, so the Vikings looked to quarterback Sean Mannion to lead their offense against the Packers. On the first play of Minnesota’s opening drive, Mannion connected with tight end Tyler Conklin for a 12-yard pass play to move the chains. But, the early momentum was short-lived after the Vikings could not convert on 4th and 3 and turned it over on downs to Green Bay at just about midfield.

With only a little field left before approaching touchdown territory, the Packers looked to be the first to find the end zone on Sunday. On 3rd and 2, they got a much-needed burst from running back Aaron Jones after he rushed 27 yards to advance Green Bay into the red zone. With just 11 yards to go, the Packers also found themselves in a 4th and 3 situation and decided to go for it. Like the Vikings, they failed to convert, and Minnesota took over deep in their own territory.

Both teams would go three and out on their next possessions to close the first quarter.

To open the second quarter, the Vikings and Mannion still struggled to find something and went three and out for the second drive in a row. Green Bay, however, finally broke the cycle and started to find a bit of momentum on offense. On 1st and 10, Rodgers connected with Jones for a 12-yard play and a first down. After that, Rodgers found wide receiver Allen Lazard for the first time on Sunday off a 13-yard pass play to move the chains. Then, Jones continued to dominate on the ground and rushed for a 28-yard pickup to put Green Bay at the edge of the red zone. However, the spark on offense was not enough for the Packers and they had to settle for another field goal. Crosby’s 36-yard attempt was good, and Green Bay extended their lead to 6-0.   

On Minnesota’s next possession, they were doomed from the start after Green Bay linebacker Rashan Gary got to Mannion for a 10-yard sack on 1st and 10. After that, the Vikings could could not recover and were forced to punt after going three and out for the third consecutive drive.  

Green Bay, however, started to heat up. On 3rd and 1, Rodgers connected with Adams for 15 yards to move the chains for a first down. On the next play, Rodgers then found Lazard over the middle for 17 yards and another first down. And, just two plays later with the pocket collapsing, Rodgers lofted one down the right side of the field and Lazard went up and grabbed it for a ridiculous 20-yard touchdown catch. Crosby’s point after attempt was good and the Packers extended their lead to 13-0 and the “M-V-P” chants started echoing around Lambeau Field.

Green Bay’s defense continued to be the real MVP, though. On Minnesota’s next possession, they forced a fourth consecutive three and out after linebacker Preston Smith sacked Mannion for a loss of 5 yards on 3rd and 10.

To open their next drive, Rodgers and Adams continued to wreak havoc on the Vikings, connecting for a 19-yard pickup and the first down to position Green Bay at just about midfield heading into the two-minute drill. What unfolded next, was simply greatness from both of them. After Rodgers connected with wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on 2nd and 2 for 3 yards to move the chains, Adams and Rodgers finished the job themselves.

On 2nd and 4, 12 and 17 connected off their signature back shoulder play for a 17-yard pickup to move the chains. Then, on the very next play, they connected again, this time for an 11-yard touchdown, to extend Green Bay’s lead to 20-0 with just over a minute remaining in the half.

Minnesota had one last opportunity to put points on the board before the break and succeeded after drilling a 51-yard field goal as time expired to make it 20-3 Green Bay at the half.

On the first possession of the third quarter, the Vikings quickly reverted back to their ways and went three and out.

After a season high 21-yard punt return from David Moore (unbelievable, I know!) the Packers started their first possession of the second half at the Viking’s 38-yard line. On 1st and 10, Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks was flagged for defensive pass interference on Adams and gifted Green Bay an automatic first down. From there, running back AJ Dillon took over. On 2nd and 1, Dillon rushed for 3 yards to move the chains. Then, on 3rd and 2, the Packers put their trust in the quads once more and Dillon rushed for another 3 yards to bring Green Bay to the 11-yard line. After that, on 2nd and 3, Dillon finished the job for the Packers and rushed for 4 yards and a touchdown to extend Green Bay’s lead to 27-3 just minutes into the third quarter.

On their next possession, the Vikings were desperate for any sort of rhythm on offense. And, after Mannion connected with Conklin for 15 yards on 2nd and 6 to move the chains, it looked like they might find it. But, that excitement for Minnesota did not last long after they failed to convert on 4th and 3 and turned it over on downs at midfield.

With only half of the field to go, Green Bay continued to keep their foot on the gas in this one. On 2nd and 10, Rodgers and Adams connected again to move the chains, this time for 13 yards. Then, on 2nd and 1, Rodgers scrambled for 3 yards to keep the drive alive. However, it was not enough, and the Packers looked to Crosby for another field goal attempt. His 37-yard try was good, and Green Bay took a 30-3 lead with just about three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Vikings were not going out without putting up a fight, though. On 1st and 10, Mannion connected with star wide receiver Justin Jefferson for an 11-yard pickup to move the chains. Then, on 4th and 1, Minnesota took a chance and Mannion ran it up the middle himself for 3 yards to keep the drive alive. After that, in one of the most bizarre yet sort of amazing plays I have ever seen, Mannion ‘s pass was deflected and bounced into the hands of center Garrett Bradbury who barreled down the field like a fullback and picked up 21 yards and a first down to put the Vikings in the red zone. On the next play, Mannion connected with wide receiver K.J. Osborn for a 14-yard touchdown as time expired in the third quarter. Minnesota’s point after attempt was good, and the Vikings cut the Packers’ lead to 30-10.

To open the fourth quarter, Green Bay did not take their foot off the gas and looked to Dillon to deliver the final dagger on Sunday. On 2nd and 1, he rushed for 3 yards to move the chains. Then, on 2nd and 10, the offense got a boost from wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown after a 14-yard pickup. After that, Dillon provided extra support in the air and picked up 9-yards on 2nd and 5. Then, on 3rd and 3, Rodgers did his best Dillon impression and rushed for 5 yards to bring Green Bay within Minnesota’s 10-yard line. From there, Dillon pounded through the Vikings defense and remained on his feet as he pushed into the end zone. Crosby’s extra point attempt was good, and the Packers extended their lead to 37-10.

Minnesota went three and out on their next possession and, with just over seven minutes remaining in the game, quarterback Jordan Love took over for the Packers and closed things out nicely to help Green Bay secure the win and the NFC’s top seed.

 

What we learned: The path to the Super Bowl in the NFC will run through Lambeau Field

For the second straight year, the path to the Super Bowl in the NFC will run through Lambeau Field. Thanks to the Cowboys loss earlier on Sunday and their own dominant win over the Vikings, the Packers officially clinched the number one seed in the NFC in week seventeen.  

 

What went right: Rodgers to Adams

It is 2022 and Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are still the best QB/WR duo in the league. These two put on an absolute vintage performance Sunday night and made a very clear statement to the rest of the league that they will bully you into oblivion if given the chance.

Rodgers put on another MVP-caliber performance and finished what is most likely his final game of the 2021 regular season 29/38 for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns (ESPN stats).

Allen Lazard also had a big game for the Packers on Sunday and came up clutch on several occasions. He finished the night with 6 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown (ESPN stats) and was providing support in the block game all night long.  

 

What went wrong: Nothing of significance

Finally, a win that did not stress me out!

 

Offensive MVP: Davante Adams

If you still do not believe Davante Adams is the best receiver in the league, you are simply not paying attention. Sunday was another historic night for 17 and he dominated the Vikings in every way.

Adams finished the night with a team high 11 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown (ESPN stats).

In addition, after his 10th catch of the night, Adams also broke his own single-season franchise receptions record, which was 115 in 2020 (Packers).

 

Defensive MVP: Preston Smith

Preston Smith has really proved the haters wrong this season. He had another great showing in week seventeen and made his presence known on several occasions. According to ESPN stats, he finished Sunday night with 4 tackles, 3 of which were solo, 1 sack, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 pass deflection and 1 QB hit.

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers close out the regular season on the road against the Detroit Lions. Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday, January 9 at 1 p.m. EST at Ford Field.   

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

9 points

Comments (4)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
ImaPayne's picture

January 02, 2022 at 10:57 pm

I cannot remember a worse played Vikes game in decades. Cook did nothing, Jefferson did a few things. The defense did nothing.
Yes they had to be shell shocked over Cousins and getting a replacement three days before the big game but they didnt step up like I thought they might. These guys were flatter then week old road kill.
Zimmer may be gone by next week?

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Bure9620's picture

January 02, 2022 at 11:06 pm

Too bad AJ Dillon wasn't draftable.......

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dblbogey's picture

January 02, 2022 at 11:34 pm

And The Rashan Gary pick was just stupid.

5 points
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Turophile's picture

January 03, 2022 at 09:34 am

One of the Packers most complete performances, this year.

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