Minnesota Vikings get in the way of the playoffs with victory over Green Bay Packers – Minnesota Vikings


MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Vikings were by no means mathematically facing an elimination game against Green Bay Packers in week 12, but there is no denying that the confrontation took that kind of sensation to Sunday night.

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In the middle of a stretch that is likely to decide their fate in the playoffs, the Vikings needed that victory – a 24-17 win over the division opponents – to remain fifth in the NFC playoff, while owning the tiebreaker in Green Bay.

The victory raised the Vikings' chances of reaching the postseason from 51 to 71 percent, according to ESPN's Football Power Index. With consecutive road games arriving in New England and Seattle, a key victory over the Packers keeps the Minnesota playoff hopes alive.

Throughout the week, the message repeatedly emphasized in the Vikings' locker room was the sense of urgency they needed on the national stage. In primetime games this season against Rams, Saints and Bears, Minnesota has come empty handed. This was largely due to the Vikings' defensive lapses in Los Angeles and changes in the red zone, leading to missed opportunities against New Orleans and Chicago.

"Last week left a bad taste in our mouths and the chance to return Sunday Night Football against a home division rival was a great opportunity and I'm happy to have made the most of it," said defender Kirk Cousins. I made a lot of team effort, lots of people involved to make it happen and I'm very happy with the result. "

Dalvin Cook, left, and Stefon Diggs, who scored the touchdowns on Sunday, celebrate after Cook's victory in a 26-yard game. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The cousins ​​also resisted their own fights in prime time after entering Sunday with a record of 4 to 12 years in such games, finishing with a score of 129.6 when they completed 29 of 38 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him the game ball of coach Mike Zimmer.

"He did a great job managing what we needed to do," Zimmer said. "I thought (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) did a great job of putting him in the right situations all night. And some of the things we talked about, me and him this week, I thought he did tonight. I was very proud of him and I thought he played exceptionally. "

Sometimes on Sunday, the Vikings looked unstable, unable to fend off the Packers before the third quarter. But Minnesota was able to rebound after a 14-14 draw in the first half and win a critical victory before leaving to continue on that brutal stretch on the road.

The common denominator in Minnesota's last two losses? Turnovers. A lot of them. On Sunday night, the safety of the ball was of utmost importance, and was worth it in the form of zero fumble or interception.

"It was very clear to me that sales really tell the story of this league," Cousins ​​said. "The fact that we were a 5-4-1 team with a turnover margin that was one more. It was nothing special, but we had five wins and we are in a position to be a playoff team because there were five. I hope we can get that margin to climb on the most these last five games of the year. Coach Flip emphasized that when you hold football in your hands, you maintain the livelihood of many people in that building and their families. It has to matter to us. A coach often told me the safety of the ball, the safety of work, yours and mine. It is very important to take the ball. "

The success achieved by the Vikings against the Packers was what had worked so well for Cousins ​​and the offense historically.

By the 12th week, the Vikings were in 21st place in the NFL in the percentage of games using gameplay. Cousins, whom Mike Zimmer praised for being "awesome on the cleats", managed to shine in that area on Sunday. Two of Cousins' three touchdowns were made with play-action: a 30-yard TD for Stefon Diggs and the use of boot action on a 14-yard pass to Adam Thielen. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Cousins ​​has managed to generate more out-of-game play against the Packers than against all other teams.

The Vikings also had success with the screen passes for running backs, which were not seen very often this season. A quick screen in the first quarter for Dalvin Cook was taken 26 yards for a touchdown. That screen pass was longer than all the racing screens combined by the Vikings before Sunday night (15 yards on eight screen passes).

"Someone asked me this week: do we have to be better on screens? And we know, "Zimmer said. "This helps to ease the rush. They had a couple of screens and we have to continue to be good at the screen game. The screen for Dalvin was great. (Pat) Elflein did a great job of getting out of there, blocking out anyone on the perimeter and Dalvin had a great run. "



Kirk Cousins ​​gives a pass to Dalvin Cook, who cuts the defense and reaches the final zone to equalize the score in 7-7.

Defensively, Minnesota broke the game in the third time, keeping the Packers at 30 yards in 14 games coming off the range. Zimmer implemented a handful of new A-gap aspects in the third down, forcing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to try to discover the new pre-snap look.

The Packers were held at a conversion rate of 20% on the third downhill, which is the lowest since the 17th week of the 2015 season, which coincidentally came against the Vikings. In Rodgers' eight negative points, he was fired or coerced in five of them.

Rodgers frustrated, who saw the playoff chances of his team drop to 15 percent with the loss, was stopped for 198 passing yards and a touchdown. He was fired four times, once by Tom Johnson and Everson Griffen and twice by Sheldon Richardson, who continues to prove their worth as a big spark behind the Vikings' success along the defensive line.

Sunday was the first prime time game the Vikings were favored this season and in the first 12 weeks of the year, Minnesota beat most of the teams that were designed to hit without Buffalo. But none of his victories came against teams with a .500 record.

This is a feat the Vikings hope to reach next Sunday in Foxborough when they face the Patriots for a chance to increase control over a point in the playoff.


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