MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Packers are the kings of the north. The Packers are NFC North champions after dominating the Vikings Monday night in Minneapolis 23-10. Green Bay can still be the 1, 2, or 3 seed in the NFC depending on what happens in week 17. It is the Packers first division crown since 2016.
For the second time this season, the Packers turned the ball over 3 times, all in the first half this time, and still won a game. They turned it over 3 times in their earlier Monday night appearance against the Lions, a game they won 23-22.
This time they can thank a defense that allowed just 139 total yards, 7 first downs, and just 10 points to a Vikings team playing without its’ top two running backs. Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook was out with a shoulder injury, and Alexander Mattison with an ankle injury.
Aaron Jones fumbled the ball away on the Packers 3rd play from scrimmage, and the Vikings turned that into a 3-0 lead. Aaron Rodgers threw his first interception in 278 attempts to start the second quarter, and the Vikings turned that into a Kirk Cousins to Stephon Diggs touchdown. Yet the Vikings managed just 2 first downs in the first half and had just a 10-9 lead after 2 quarter.
The Packers offense generated two second half touchdowns, both from Aaron Jones; a 12-yard run and a season long 56 yard run. Jones finished with a season-high 154 rushing yards, and now leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 16, and total touchdowns with 19.
Za’Darius Smith said earlier in the week he didn’t care about his Pro Bowl snub, that he wanted to play in Super Bowl. He played like it. Smith had 3.5 of the Packers’ 5 sacks on the night. The Packers defensive front dominated the game, with Kenny Clark (1) and Preston Smith (.5) also contributed in the sack department.
The Packers (12-3) made Matt LaFleur the 10th rookie coach in NFL history to reach 12 victories, winning for the first time in four tries at Minnesota's deafening U.S. Bank Stadium. It was the Vikings first home loss all season and locks them into the 6th seed in the NFC. If the Packers finish as the 3-seed, they would host the Vikings in a Wild Card playoff game. The Packers earn at least the 2-seed and a first round playoff bye if they win at Detroit Sunday. If that happens and the 49ers lost at Seattle, the Packers would be the top seed in the NFC and have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
All the Packers players keep asking “Where’s our hats? Give us our hats!”— Baillie Burmaster (@bayburmTV) December 24, 2019
Watch Action 2 News This Morning for highlights, post-game reaction, and Baillie Burmaster reports from Minneapolis.
The Packers will finish off the regular season Sunday in Detroit. Kickoff is noon.
The Vikings try to draw the Packers off on 4th and 1 and end up burning a time out. The Packers defense once again holds the Vikings to a punt.
Aaron Rodgers is sacked for the third time. Packers punt.
Kenny Clark returns the favor by sacking Kirk Cousins. Vikings punt.
Kenny Clark has 4.5 sacks in the past three games.
Packers RB Aaron Jones explodes for a 56-yard rushing touchdown--his 16th of the season. Mason Crosby misses the PAT. Packers -23 Vikings - 10.
With the 16 rushing touchdowns this season, Aaron Jones now sits in second place in the Packers record books.
Jones has 20 carries for 146 yards. That's a career high for Jones.
The Smith Brothers -- Preston and Za'Darius -- pick up a sack of Kirk Cousins.
Cousins answers with a touchdown pass, but it's called back for holding on the offense.
The Packers defense again comes up big and stops the Vikings. Vikings punt with 3:41 left.
The Packers are stuffed on their next drive and punt.
Za'Darius Smith picks up another sack of Kirk Cousins. It's the two minute warning.
The Vikings go three-and-out on the first drive of the half. Vikings punt. The Packers defense has held them to no first downs in four possessions.
Aaron Rodgers is 1-and-10 on throws longer than 10 yards. He's sacked on the drive. Packers punt.
Za'Darius Smith picks up his second sack of the game for a 3rd and 18.
Kirk Cousins finds a wide open Stefon Diggs to pick up the 1st down. It's the Vikings' first first down since early in the second quarter.
Kirk Cousins goes deep into the hands of Packers CB Kevin King for the interception. It's King's team-leading fifth pick of the season.
Aaron Jones runs 11 yards for a touchdown and gives the Packers their first lead of the game. WR Allen Lazard makes a big block to help get Jones in the end zone. Packers go for two. Rodgers hits Geronimo Allison to go up 17-10 with two minutes left in the quarter.
The Packers have 19 first downs. The Vikings have four first downs.
Aaron Jones has a league-leading 15 rushing touchdowns.
"That was Aaron Jones' 15th rushing touchdown of the season (and 18th overall). He's now tied with Ahman Green for the second-most rushing touchdowns in a season by a Packers player behind only Jim Taylor's 19," says ESPN's Rob Demovsky.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is intercepted by Anthony Harris. It's Rodgers first INT since Week 6.
Vikings make good. Kirk Cousins hits Stefon Diggs for a 21-yard touchdown. Vikings - 10 Packers - 3.
Diggs has 8 TD receptions in 9 games against the Packers.
ESPN reporter and Cover 2 analyst Rob Demovsky says Rodgers has thrown two-of-three interceptions this season on Monday Night Football. It breaks his streak of 227 passes without an INT.
Rodgers hits Allen Lazard for a 1st down. Vikings believe it's incomplete, challenge the call. Vikings win the challenge. It goes back to 3rd-and-1 for the Packers. Rodgers-to-Davante Adams picks up the 1st down.
The drive continues for 13 plays and 60 yards, but the Packers are unable to put it in the end zone. They settle for a 32-yard field goal from Mason Crosby. Vikings - 10 Packers - 6.
ESPN's Rob Demovsky notes WR blocking on the drive by Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow.
Za'Darius Smith takes down Kirk Cousins for Smith's 11th sack of the season. The Vikings are knocked back to 3rd and 19. Vikings punt.
Aaron Rodgers hits Davante Adams for a 20-yard catch. Adams fumbles and the Vikings take over in Green Bay territory.
The Vikings try a trick play reverse from Diggs to Cousins, but Cousins isn't quick enough to make the catch.
Cousins goes deep on 4th and 4 and misses. The Packers take over on downs, in better field position than before the turnover with two minutes to go. The Packers fail to take advantage the field position and punt, giving the Vikings another chance to score before the half.
Za'Darius Smith picks up another big tackle. Tramon Williams nearly picks Kirk Cousins. The Packers get another chance to score with less than a minute and two time outs.
Rodgers hits Jimmy Graham for an 18-yard catch. Graham bobbles the ball and it comes out. Refs call him out of bounds, but on review, say it is a fumble. Packers WR Geronimo Allison recovered before it became another turnover.
The Packers settle for a field goal with three seconds left. Vikings - 10 Packers - 9.
The Vikings win the coin toss and defer. Packers open the game.
"#Packers scored 3 TDs on first 3 possessions in the first meeting. They get it first tonight," says Action 2 Sports director Chris Roth.
Vikings OLB Anthony Barr forces a fumble. Packers RB Aaron Jones turns it over on the first drive. Vikings take over at 1st and goal.
The Packers defense holds the Vikings to a field goal. Vikings - 3 Packers - 0.
"#Packers 5th-ranked red zone defense wins that one over #Vikings 4th-ranked red zone offense," says Chris Roth.
The Packers pick up a 1st down on an 18-yard Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams pass, but are unable to get into scoring territory. JK Scott punts. The Vikings start at their 9.
Packers DE Dean Lowry bats away a Kirk Cousins pass. Packers defense forces a punt.
The Packers put their first points on the board when Mason Crosby hits a 42-yard field goal. Packers - 3 Vikings - 3.
The Vikings are hit with a false start penalty and then Za'Darius Smith picks up a monster tackle for a loss of yards. Vikings punt.
A "Go Pack Go" chat breaks out at U.S. Bank Stadium.
* 11 WR Ryan Grant
* 22 RB Dexter Williams
* 28 CB Tony Brown
* 29 CB Ka'dar Hollman
* 70 T/G Alex Light
* 79 T John Leglue
* 87 TE Jace Sternberger
* 25 RB Alexander Mattison
* 33 RB Dalvin Cook
* 51 DT Hercules Mata'afa
* 73 G Dru Samia
* 74 T Oli Udoh
* 76 T Aviante Collins
* 92 DT Jalyn Holmes