The Vikings handed the Packers their first defeat in NFC North play in almost two full seasons by beating Green Bay 37-34.
No Answer for Adrian
The only thing Adrian Peterson didn’t do on Sunday was break Erik Dickerson’s single season rushing record; he fell eight yards short.
The Packers couldn’t find a way to stop the dynamic back as he rumbled for 199 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown.
Green Bay’s defenders looked meek as Peterson broke arm tackles and willed his way through the defense all afternoon.
Turnovers Tell the Tale
As is the case in most contests, the winner of the turnover battle won the game.
Aaron Rodgers coughed up the ball in the third quarter when Vikings’ defensive end Brian Robison stripped Rodgers as he attempted to throw while on the run.
The turnover marked a shift in momentum as Minnesota converted Rodgers’ turnover into a touchdown when, ten plays later, Christian Ponder found a wide-open Adrian Peterson in the end zone for the score.
Unlike the first meeting between these two clubs, where Ponder threw two interceptions, the Vikings did not record a turnover on Sunday.
The Packers' secondary had their chances, but the defensive unit could not come up with a big play as the Vikings’ offense racked up 444 total yards.
The Vikings converted six of their 12 third-downs as well as their only fourth-down attempt.
The Vikings controlled most of the first half, and the Packers’ defense was on their heels for much of the day. The Packers defense did not force the Vikings into a three-and-out until the 9:21 mark of the second quarter.
Despite the defense not being able to get off the field for most of the game, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense continually answered the Vikings’ scoring drives as the Packers converted six-of-13 third-downs as well as their only fourth-down.
The dagger was twisted by the Vikings' offense, however, when Christian Ponder connected with Michael Jenkins on a third-and-11 play from the Vikings' 27-yard line.
On the play, the Packers rushed three and were unable to pressure Ponder as he found Michael Jenkins along the sideline. Jenkins slipped between three Packers’ defenders and the 25-yard gain helped position the Vikings for a game-winning Blair Walsh field goal.
Jordy Nelson sat out part of the second half with a knee injury but was able to return to the game. Nelson appeared to injure his knee while blocking for Jermichael Finley on the penultimate play of the first half. Finley and Nelson got tangled up on the play as both had to be helped to their feet on the sidelines.
Clay Matthews fell hard to the Metrodome turf after attempting to tackle Adrian Peterson but also returned to the game. Matthews did not re-injure his hamstring but said he felt pain run through his entire body as he slammed down onto the turf.
While Matthews and Nelson were able to return, the fortunes of Jarrett Boykin and Jerel Worthy were not as bright.
Jarrett Boykin hurt his left ankle while recording his only catch of the game. Boykin’s leg bent backwards when Vikings' defensive back A.J. Jefferson wrestled him to the ground after hauling in a fourth-and-one pass from Aaron Rodgers. The rookie out of Virginia Tech was able to jog off the field but the cart was used to transport Boykin to the locker room shortly thereafter.
Defensive lineman Jerel Worthy also suffered a knee injury. The rookie lineman’s knee buckled under him late in the fourth quarter. Worthy’s injury occurred after slight contact from Vikings’ tackle Phil Loadholt, but the contact did not appear to force the injury. Worthy fell to the ground after planting his left leg in the turf and had to be carted off the field.
The Vikings and Packers face off again next week. The rematch takes place in Green Bay and is set for next Saturday evening at 7:00 pm, central time.
If the Packers win, they move on to face the 49ers in San Francisco the following Saturday at 7:00 pm.
Max Ginsberg is a regular contributor at CheeseheadTV and was forced to watch Sunday's game surrounded by his in-laws who are fierce Vikings' fans. He is hoping for redemption next week, but has vowed to take the high road if the Packers come out victorious. You can send him questions, comments or concerns for his well being via Twitter @MaxGinsberg or by email at maxginsberg[at]yahoo.com.
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