Game Recap: Packers dominate the Vikings to keep their playoff hopes alive

Following a 33-10 drubbing of the Vikings, the Packers can earn a playoff spot with a victory over Chicago next week.

Of course, I was nervous heading into this game. Why wouldn't I be watching the way this defense was letting struggling Quarterbacks take advantage of them? But wow was I surprised that this game was one that I could just sit back with my beer and popcorn and enjoy the victory. This game was a blowout. My friend Chris Collinsworth tried to say if Nick Mullens played the whole game perhaps it would've been different, well, he played the entire second half and his only score was off a muffed punt landing him with only 7 yards to score. So, I think I disagree with you, Mr. Collinsworth. 

Jordan Love with four total touchdowns as this offense rarely looked out of sync except for maybe on the first drive. When your punter only has two total kicks on his stat sheet, it was a good day for the offense. Bo Melton had a career game, Aaron Jones dominated per usual, and there was nothing to hate at all about this offense tonight.

Turning to the defense, I will say my only complaint is how they began the second half seeming to rest on their laurels allowing Mullens to pick them apart through the air for 71 yards. Luckily they responded after this forcing a turnover on downs, but giving them that bit of momentum was the last thing needed, glad we fought back. There were many defensive back blitzes seen in this game including one resulting in a sack for Keisean Nixon. It was good to see that Joe Barry wasn't going to just let the young QBs relax in the pocket this time around. Don't worry though, Barry is not off the hook.

Let's get to the recap:

First Quarter:

The game began with the Packers receiving the opening kickoff and starting this one from their own 21-yard line after the Keisean Nixon return. After an incompletion on a shot deep and a short Aaron Jones run, the Packers faced 3rd and 7 where Jordan Love would hit Romeo Doubs, but Doubs wouldn’t be able to hang on going three and out. The Whelan punt would put the Vikings at their own 23-yard line to begin their first drive.  

The Viking's drive would only net 9 yards on two runs before an incompletion on third down would force them to punt as well. After the Ryan Wright punt would sail into the endzone, the Packers would kick off their second drive of the game at their own 25. A quick first drive for both teams with their still being 12:16 on the clock of the first quarter. 

With their second drive of the game, the Packers would earn their first first-down of the game on a 4-yard pass to Romeo Doubs and then their second on the very next play when Jordan Love hit Tucker Kraft for a 13-yard pass to the Packers’ 44-yard line. Two plays later, on third down, Bo Melton would get his first catch of the game on a 12-yard gain to the Minnesota 37-yard line before Aaron Jones would take off on a run outside to the left for 19 yards to the Vikings 18. After a short AJ Dillon run and a pass batted by the defensive line, the Packers faced 3rd and 8 where Jordan Love would be pressured and try to sail a pass to Malik Heath but not quite getting his feet set, Love would sail it over Heath’s head forcing the Packers to settle for an Anders Carlson field goal. The Packers would take the lead 3-0 with 6:43 left to play in the opening 15 minutes. Heath was wide open in the end zone, but Love was slightly falling off balance when he made the throw, likely resulting in the overshot. 

Following the kickoff, the Vikings would start their second drive of the game from their own 25-yard line. On second down a Jaren Hall pass would be tipped up by the tight end and it would land in the hands of Corey Ballentine for the interception. The Packers would get their first turnover of the game and begin the drive from the Minnesota 33-yard line.  

With the interception granting the Packers offense good field position to start, they wasted no time capitalizing as on second down Jordan Love would sail a beautiful ball right on the money to Jayden Reed for a 33-yard touchdown. That was one of those beautiful balls that show us, Love, is the man for the Packers’ future. The Packers would go up 10-0 after the extra point with 5:10 remaining in the opening quarter.  

Following the score, the Vikings began their drive from their own 20-yard line. The Vikings kicked off the drive gashing the Packers on the ground with two runs for 9 yards by Ty Chandler. After those two runs the Vikings caught Kenny Clark drawing him offsides for a free 5 yards. Two plays later Hall tried testing Corey Ballentine with a deep pass to Justin Jefferson, but Ballentine stayed strong knocking the ball away before Hall then threw an incompletion on third down forcing the Vikings to punt for the second time. The Packers would take over at their own 26-yard line following the punt sailing out of bounds with 2:28 on the clock of the first quarter.  

Taking over once again, the Packers introduced AJ Dillon to the game a little more with two runs for 13 yards before Jordan Love hit Bo Melton on a 28-yard pass to the Vikings’ 33-yard line with pressure in his face. It was as if Love threw up a prayer which kind of scared me a little, but Melton came down with it for a big play into Vikings territory. AJ Dillon would gain 7 yards on the next play and the Packers would get an additional 5 on an offsides call. That is where the first quarter would end with the Packers knocking on the door of the red zone. 

Second Quarter:

To start the second quarter, after two runs and Jordan Love failed to get the first down to gain on a 3rd down run attempt, the Packers lined up to go for it on 4th down before the Packers called their first timeout. Following the timeout, Jordan Love had Bo Melton wide open, but Melton could not make the diving grab. Turnover on downs with the Vikings taking over at their own 24-yard line.  

After the turnover on downs with 13:19 remaining in the half, the Vikings offense earned a first down on 2nd down with a 13-yard pass to Justin Jefferson to the MIN 41-yard line. They didn’t stop there as Hall then hit Jordan Addison on a 20-yard grab to the Packers’ 39. The Packers got a measure of revenge on second down as Colby Wooden and Isaiah McDuffie met at the Quarterback for a -10-yard sack of Jaren Hall pushing Minnesota backward to the GB 45-yard line. Unfortunately, McDuffie was hurt in the play as his helmet collided with both Lukas Van Ness and Colby Wooden. Worth noting that this was Wooden’s first sack that he would share with his teammate. On third and 16 the Vikings would get about 9 setting up a 54-yard field goal that would split the uprights taking our score to 10-3 Packers with 9:25 remaining in the half.  

Following the touchback on the kickoff, the Packers took over at their own 25. The Vikings would be called for holding on the first play tacking 5 yards onto a 3-yard Aaron Jones run and giving them a first down. On second down, Jordan Love hit Jayden Reed for a 15-yard gain to the MIN 46 before Tucker Kraft bulled through a defender on a 13-yard catch to the MIN 33. Two plays later facing 3rd and 1, Aaron Jones burst through the line for an 8-yard gain to the MIN 16-yard line and into the red zone. Following that play, Aaron Jones wasn’t finished turning in another nice 10-yard run, and an illegal use of hands to the face call on Minnesota took them down to the MIN 6-yard line. Two plays later, Jordan Love took a QB keeper 6 yards stretching the ball over the line for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Packers would stretch the lead to 14 going up 17-3 with 3:59 remaining on the clock of the second quarter.  

The Vikings began their next drive from their own 19-yard line and got a measure of success on first down when Hall hit Josh Oliver on a 17-yard pass to the MIN 36. On 2nd and 6 from the MIN 46, Quay Walker avoided a cut block by the RB while blitzing and got in the backfield quickly sacking Jaren Hall for a loss of 10 pushing the Minnesota offense backward to their own 36 where we would reach the two-minute warning. An incomplete pass later the Vikings would have to punt it away. Jayden Reed would call a fair catch but get tackled on the punt. Initially, a flag would be thrown for fair catch interference but would be picked up. Honestly if you’re going to pick that up, go back in time and pick up every other time it’s been called because you have no idea if the tackling player saw the signal or not. 

The Packers took over from their own 12 with 1:47 left on the and the officials called the Packers for holding on the first play for good measure. The drive from there was uneventful as they would not get the first down and needed to punt it away. Minnesota would take over at their own 38 with 39 seconds remaining and three timeouts.  

Minnesota would begin their drive with an 8-yard catch but on second down, Preston Smith would get a strip-sack fumble on Jaren Hall that would be recovered by Karl Brooks at the MIN 37-yard line with 26 seconds on the clock. 

Taking over with good field position Jordan Love would hit Doubs off the bat for a 12-yard gain to the MIN 25. Two plays later Jordan Love hit Jayden Reed on a short pass up the middle which Reed turned on the jets and took the ball into the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, we can’t have nice things as Anders Carlson missed the XP putting the score at 23-3 Packers with 18 seconds on the clock. 

Minnesota would not attempt anything after receiving the ball after the score and the Vikings fans would express their displeasure as the boobirds came out as soon as Jaren Hall took a knee to end the first half.  

Third Quarter:

With the Vikings receiving the ball to begin the second half, they would get a big return to the 43-yard line where Nick Mullens would take over at QB for the Vikings. Mullens would get out to a good start with a 12-yard pass to Justin Jefferson off the bat and two plays later Mullens would hit Chandler on a screen for 12 yards down to the Packers 32-yard line. The Vikings would then get hit for two straight penalties, a false start, and an ineligible man downfield pushing them backward to the GB 42. On the next play, Keisean Nixon came in on a blitz and sacked Nick Mullens for a loss of 8 moving them further back to the 50-yard line. In the next play, Preston Smith would be slow to get up and would head to the blue tent, unfortunately. Not good for the Packers as he’d been playing very well as of late. Facing 3rd and 14, the Vikings would take advantage of Joe Barry’s defense getting the first down on a 21-yard gain to the Packers’ 15-yard line. Three plays later the Vikings faced 4th and 4 from the GB 9 where Mullens would throw an incompletion in the endzone to Jefferson. Turnover on downs. 

The Packers would take over deep in their own territory at the 9 with 8:49 remaining in the 3rd quarter. First play from scrimmage Aaron Jones shot out of a cannon up the middle for 26 yards to the GB 35. Later, on 3rd down and 8, Love would hit Malik Heath on a 13-yard connection to mid-field for the first down. After a Tucker Kraft 10-yard catch as well as an Aaron Jones 10-yard dump-off the Packers reached the MIN 29-yard line. The Packers then methodically moved the ball into the redzone on the ground and through the air before they would face 3rd and 1 from the MIN 9 where Jordan Love would find a wide-open Bo Melton in the endzone for Melton’s first career touchdown. The score would rise to 30-3 Packers with 49 seconds remaining on the clock of the third quarter. 

The Vikings would begin their next drive from their 17 where Mattison would take off for a 9-yard run off the bat. However, they’d go backward on a delay of game call, and on 3rd down Mullens would hit Addison on a 3-yard gain bringing up fourth down where the clock would expire on the third quarter. 

That methodical drive by the Packers to their 3rd quarter score was huge in keeping this game out of reach.  

Fourth Quarter:

The Vikings would begin the 4th quarter with 4th and 2 from their own 25-yard line where they’d punt it away, but the return would be muffed by Samori Toure, and the Vikings would recover the ball at the GB 7-yard line. On the second play in, Nick Mullens would hit Johnny Mundt for the touchdown. After the extra point, the score would move to 30-10 Packers with 14:06 remaining in the game. A great stop for the defense unfortunately botched by the Special Teams, unfortunately, giving the Vikings a little life that we don’t need at this point.  

Following the score, the Packers would take over at their 25-yard line off the touchback. They’d go into clock-bleeding mode but stay a little aggressive with two runs and two passes in the middle of the field getting them down to the MIN 44-yard line. Aaron Jones would get the Pack into field goal range with a 10-yard run to the MIN 33 before facing third and 7 where Jordan Love would connect with Bo Melton on an 11-yard gain to the MIN 19-yard line. Two plays later again facing 3rd down, the Packers would not convert after Love would hit Toure on a WR screen but it would result in a loss. The Packers would send in Anders Carlson to attempt a 37-yard field goal that he would be successful with taking the score to 33-10 with 6:11 remaining in the game. 

Minnesota would take over at their own 23 to begin the drive and would convert on third down with a 10-yard pass to Mundt to the MIN 38. The next play Nick Mullens would take off on a 6-yard run giving himself up with a slide but would be hit by Nixon resulting in a 15-yard flag. Honestly, I thought the flag was a little soft, Nixon didn’t hit him very hard, but rules are rules I guess, and the laundry flies. A few plays later Minnesota faced 3rd and 10 from the GB 29 where they would convert on a 13-yard catch by Chandler to the GB 16. Three plays later after a few incomplete passes Minnesota faced 4th and 4 from the GB 10-yard line where Mullens would throw to the endzone and have the ball caught by Keisean Nixon out of bounds. Turnover on downs, the Packers take over from their own 10-yard line with 2:56 remaining in the game.  

With the game basically well in hand, Sean Clifford came into the game at QB for the Packers, and after three runs by Patrick Taylor gaining a first down and taking all of Minnesota’s timeouts the Packers would have a first down at their 29-yard line to let the clock go. A few plays in facing third down, Clifford threw up a deep ball for Bo Melton connecting for a 37-yard gain to the MIN 30-yard line that would seal the game as two Clifford kneels later, the Packers would cruise to an 8-8 record off a 33-10 domination of the Vikings. 

Offensive Player of the Game:

This is a very tough one for me. Three players on offense were instrumental in this victory. Jordan Love, four total touchdowns. Three through the air, one on the ground, 256 yards passing. Aaron Jones was a beast in the rushing game with 20 carries for 120 yards. And then you have Bo Melton with a huge breakout game with 105 yards receiving on 6 catches and his first career touchdown. I think I'm giving this to Bo Melton. He came up with some huge catches in this one. He nearly could have had two touchdowns on a play early in the 2nd quarter when Love may have sailed the ball a little further in front of him than intended, or perhaps Melton slowed down, I couldn't tell, but if Melton makes that catch in-stride he has two TD's to end this one. A huge game for him that we will be hoping to see more of down the line. 

Defensive Player of the Game:

This one is signed and sealed in blood for me. Corey Ballentine had a tall task facing Justin Jefferson tonight and he stepped up hugely. Two pass deflections and an interception held Jefferson to five catches for 59 yards on 10 targets. Without top corners on the field, Jefferson could've had a field day. But Ballentine shut that down and made sure his impact was minimal. 

What Went Right:

The offensive line played out of their minds tonight. Zero sacks on Jordan Love, and Aaron Jones with 120 yards rushing where a few holes looked like you could drive a semi through, excellent job by the big boys tonight. 

Bo Melton with a breakout game. It's beautiful seeing that #80 having huge games for the Packers. 

Ballentine and Valentine could've been embarrassed in this game, instead, they showed out holding Minnesota to only 144 yards through the air. 

Preston Smith had a big game with his sack fumble to top it off. The stat line wasn't huge for him, but he was disruptive. 

What Went Wrong:

It's hard to point to many things wrong tonight. Perhaps the only thing would be the defense to start the third quarter. It gave me the creeps thinking we were about to be on the receiving end of a major comeback. But while that went wrong, they still cleaned it up and held strong. 

Looking Forward:

Next week the Packers will have their final game of the regular season. It will be just like last year where if they win, they're in. Earning a playoff birth in Jordan Love's first season, not to mention with such a young roster would be huge for this club moving forward regardless of the outcome afterward. It's almost as if they're finishing the season right where they began as they will be taking on the Chicago Bears whom they defeated in the season opener 38-20. The Bears will be coming off their match against the Atlanta Falcons and looking to end the season on a high note. After the Packers embarrassed them at home in week 1, Chicago will likely seek revenge. The future is very uncertain for Chicago, and rumors are swirling that they will not be parting ways with Head Coach Matt Eberflus. Despite the opportunity to possess the first overall pick in the 2024 draft due to having Carolina's pick and Carolina having the league's worst record, there's a chance the Bears could still pass on drafting that top-ranked Quarterback and stick with Justin Fields. If that's the case, this final game of the season could be an opportunity for Eberflus and Fields to win over the fanbase again. They will likely stop at nothing and throw everything they've got at the Packers. With the recent issues the Packers have had with their defense, that isn't very encouraging, but perhaps they can build off tonight's game. Hopefully, the final game of the regular season, at home at Lambeau Field against their arch-rival will wake the defense up a bit to rise to the occasion. We can only hope. Until then, I hope you all have a happy new year, and see you in 2024. Until then, Go Pack Go.




Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to CheeseheadTV as well as PackersTalk. Follow him on Twitter @gmeinholz for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.


5 points

Comments (16)

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

December 31, 2023 at 11:23 pm

Great win! Jordan Love has exceeded expectations this year. 30 passing TDs and over 4000 yards. The first TD to Reed was rocket! Wow! Great to see the defense play better. Maybe not having Alexander or Stokes playing helped? I just know I like how the D plays with Ballentine and Valentine back there. Go Pack!

7 points
Racingdad's picture

January 01, 2024 at 12:56 am

Start CB and CV next week put 23 on the shelf or use him for dime only They have earned the right to start over 23

6 points
HawkPacker's picture

January 01, 2024 at 08:04 am

I never thought I would say this, as I like 23, but you are correct, they do deserve to start.

0 points
Lphill's picture

December 31, 2023 at 11:37 pm

Missing extra points should be a concern .great win overall Happy New Year

2 points
Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 31, 2023 at 11:49 pm

One comment: Sign Bo Melton to the 53.

10 points
marpag1's picture

January 01, 2024 at 03:11 am

I might have to eat some crow because of him. I didn't think he would be a player.

1 points
Houndog's picture

January 01, 2024 at 06:17 am

You're not alone marpag1.
I've got a recipe using a garlic and teriyaki marinade that helps a lot in a slow cooker.
Tastes like chicken :)

-1 points
marpag1's picture

January 01, 2024 at 06:37 am

I use an air fryer. I'd be morbidly obese if I had to deep fry all that crow in oil. But slow cooker could work too.

0 points
Wilment's picture

January 01, 2024 at 12:01 am

Most complete game weve played since the drubbing of this same Vikings team at lambda last season, offense,, humming, run and pass game cranking, Zqk Tom had one hell of a game, Jordan love is coming of age, throwing his thirtieth touchdown of the season, and fast approaching four thousand yards in his first season as a started Defense looked better than they have all season, granted, Vikings were playing a back up, but hey, not our problem. Lets see now if this years team can do what last years at home and go to the playoffs. I think that would be a huge boost to this young group of players!! Happy new year and GOPACKGO!

4 points
SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 01, 2024 at 12:28 am

It's just a question of which team shows up. I like this one better :)

1 points
marpag1's picture

January 01, 2024 at 02:59 am

My only concern with this victory is that it might be so dominant that somehow it obscures how much of a dumpster fire this atrocious organization really is. The LAST THING we want is for a totally unexpected playoff berth to blind our ignorant fan base to the true horrors of the Murphy / Gutey / MLF triumvirate. Clearly, this has been Murphy’s plan all along. He’s made a pact with the Devil (aka Rodger Goodell) so that the Packers will win just enough games to keep the current power structure in place. Every true fan needs to pray like hell that the Packers DO NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. If they do get in, then all is lost and we will be stuck with “Scooter” LaFleur and Gutey and their silly playoff teams for eternity. Don’t be fooled by this diabolical deception. This whole organization is hot garbage, especially the coach. Anyone with an ounce of sense should know that you can’t respect a coach with eyebrows like that!

Damn those evil bastards.

-5 points
zeke's picture

January 01, 2024 at 03:17 am

Evil doesn't begin to describe it. I'd bet that they've already arranged for Gutekunst to win the PFWA "executive of the year" award, which would be another kick in the teeth. This organization is playing three-dimensional chess while the rest of us are playing Euchre.

-4 points
GregC's picture

January 01, 2024 at 05:14 am

Bo Melton as offensive player of the game? Are you kidding? He wasn't even in the top three. Jayden Reed was way more important to this victory. So were Jordan Love and Aaron Jones, in a pretty obvious way. Not to take anything away from Melton, who took full advantage of the Vikings' multiple blown coverages.

-1 points
exbody's picture

January 01, 2024 at 05:51 am

Didn't see this result from this packer team but I'll take it!!
I think we all figured this season would be full of ups and downs and highs and lows. Well, that's exactly what we got.
Lots of positives from last night's win at Minnesota starting with Jordan Love
Four total TDs , 3 more passing TDs bringing him to 30 on the year, just 2 behind the league leader. Love looks so in control, reading defenses like a seasoned veteran.
Ball placement, pocket awareness has improved tremendously. He passes my eye test as the next franchise QB. And as Packer fans we may be seeing another 10 years of superior QB play. Love has certainly proven to be the right decision to draft him.
Another good play calling game for MLF. Again , he was aggressive and used Jones really well. Would like to see a little more from Jones as a pass catcher.
Have to tip my hat to Joe Barry. Although I believe he will be replaced as DC, he FINALLY used pressure packages and enough variety of looks to confuse Viking QBs. Very good performances from Ballingtime and Valentine. These same guys were on the field in the Lions and Chiefs wins too. Impressive because of Alexander's suspension.
Pass rush was effective and Nixon was all over the field too. Big question is can the Packer D sustain this type of performance next week and hopefully in the playoffs?
Offensively....what more can you say about #10 ? The growth and maturation has been fantastic. You can see that his team mates have complete faith and play hard for him. And how bout these young skill players.
Reed, Doubs, Craft, Bo Melton, and left tackle Rasheed Wallace improving with every start. Add in Watson and Wicks and this offense will be fun to watch for the foreseeable future.
Overall a lot to look forward to and a BIG game next week at Lambeau for the right to make the playoffs vs Chicago Not bad for a year that was supposed to be just a season of evaluation of Love as a possible starter for this franchise. GPG !!!

1 points
HawkPacker's picture

January 01, 2024 at 08:12 am

Yes, Barry seemed to call a pretty good game. If he would have been this way all year, we would be praising him.

Didn't he do this same thing last year in that the defense played much better the last few games and that saved his job?

I hope that is not the case this year as they need to replace Barry after the season.

1 points
SinceLombardi's picture

January 01, 2024 at 07:06 am

This game simply proved the old adage that these games are won in the trenches. The d line was impressive most of the game and the o line played as well as I’ve seen all year, especially run blocking.
Realistically this was a Vikings team that is not playing well at all, but neither were the packers. Next week will be a better test.. win and in, division rival that has turned their season around.
It’s eerily similar to last year because the Bears have been eliminated and can play without any pressure.
We will find out what kind of team the Packers are next week in Green Bay.

2 points