The Vikings five-game winning streak has been halted and the losing streak to Green Bay has been extended. The Packers upended the Vikings by a score of 30-13 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, reclaiming 1st place in the NFC North and dropping the Vikings record to 7-3.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday's loss to Green Bay...
1. Mistakes and penalties too much to overcome
For five weeks in a row, the Vikings played complementary football where all phases of the team were chipping in equally to help author wins. On Sunday, all three phases made too many mistakes for the team to overcome. A dropped pass on the offense's second 3rd down of the game, an offsides on 4th and 1 that gave Green Bay a fresh set of downs and eventually led to a FG, and then a missed PAT after the first Vikings TD – those were mistakes the Vikings made early in the game. The mistakes and penalties – 8 called against the Vikings for 110 yards – continued for much of the game and added up to be too many to overcome.
2. Kyle Rudolph came alive
A bright spot in Sunday's game was TE Kyle Rudolph, who had a career day. It was a 47-yard connection from Teddy Bridgewater to Kyle Rudolph that gave the Vikings their early lead and set the stage for Rudolph to haul in 6 receptions for a career-high 106 yards – the first 100-yard game of his career.
3. Rodgers made plays, Bridgewater didn't have time to
Aaron Rodgers is as good as it gets at making plays while on the run. He keeps his head downfield and buys time for receivers to break open, often times producing back-breaking plays against a defense that had done a great job of foiling the original plan. Keeping Rodgers in the pocket to disallow him from making these plays was a point of emphasis for the Vikings this week but it was something they were unable to do. Also, both of Rodgers' TD passes came on 3rd and long. On the flip side, Bridgewater gave another gutty performance for the Vikings but was under heavy duress for much of the game (sacked 6 times) and wasn't able to hit receivers down the field consistently.
4. Packers didn't have to deal with Adrian Peterson enough
Adrian Peterson has been a headache for Green Bay during his career, but he wasn't even a handful for the Packers on Sunday. The Vikings called on Peterson for 6 rushing attempts in the 1st quarter but the NFL's rushing leader finished the game with just 13 attempts. The Vikings were behind the chains on too many drives and then were behind on the scoreboard later in the game, which put the offense in a lot of passing situations. Even still, Green Bay's 24th-ranked run defense was not tested enough on Sunday.
5. Vikings are still 7-3 and in position in the NFC, with a lot of football remaining
The NFL is often times a "what have you done for me lately?" business and it's common for observers to be prisoners of the moment, so the reaction from Sunday's loss to Green Bay in Vikings nation will be swift and extreme. There is no question that the Vikings are a team with flaws to fix. But there's also no denying the Vikings are a team that does a lot correctly, that plays with a lot of heart and that is right in the thick of the NFC playoff picture. At 7-3, the Vikings have the same record as Green Bay and are the fifth seed in the conference. With games against the Falcons, Seahawks and Cardinals in the next three weeks, the road doesn't get any easier but the road also presents opportunities to continue establishing playoff positioning.