The Vikings claimed the 117th Border Battle with a 24-17 victory over the Packers on Sunday Night Football.
Kirk Cousins dazzled on his way to claiming his first prime-time win with Minnesota and receiving a game ball from Head Coach Mike Zimmer. So did Sheldon Richardson, the Vikings other marquee addition during free agency. Richardson showed why Minnesota made it a priority to add him, recording 2.0 sacks of Aaron Rodgers.
Dalvin Cook's 26-yard receiving touchdown — the first of his career and his first score of 2018 — added to the Vikings aerial attack and prompted a limbo line in the end zone.
Here are three stats that stood out:
1. 23 of 27 on passes to Thielen, Diggs and Rudolph
Cousins completed 29 of 38 passes for 342 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers for a passer rating of 129.5.
It was nearly a sure thing when Cousins targeted Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs or Kyle Rudolph. Cousins was 23 of 27, completing 85.2 percent of passes, when targeting those three players.
The dynamic receiver tandem totaled 16 receptions for 202 yards, and Thielen and Diggs each scored a touchdown. Rudolph, the tight end, caught a pass on all seven of his targets and totaled 63 yards.
Cousins' passer rating when targeting Thielen, Diggs or Rudolph was 135.3.
2. Limiting Rodgers in the middle of the game
Defeating Green Bay usually involves limiting the damage wrought by Rodgers, who finished 17-of-28 passing for 198 yards with a touchdown and passer rating of 94.0.
Rodgers got 82 of those yards on Green Bay's final possession, but the Packers had to settle for a field goal after incompletions on second-and-1 and third-and-1 plays.
In the third quarter when the Vikings seized control of the game, he was just 4-of-7 for 35 yards and sacked once.
3. Effective game of keep-away
Perhaps the most critical part of shutting down Rodgers, however, occurred in the second quarter after Minnesota tied the game at 14 with 11:01 remaining in the first half.
The Vikings were able to limit Rodgers to 1-of-4 passing for 15 yards and force quick punts on Green Bay's two remaining possessions of the first half. The Packers went three-and-punt thanks to a sack by Tom Johnson, who prevented Rodgers from scrambling for a first down, and four-and-punt on the following drive.
Although Minnesota did not get points on the drive that followed, the Vikings kept the ball away from Rodgers for the final 2:55 of the first half, negating the threat that he poses at the end of halves.
On 10 total possessions, Green Bay had six drives that lasted five or fewer plays (five punts, one turnover on downs).
The Vikings possessed the ball for 34:37.