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5 Takeaways from Sunday's Loss to the Packers

The Vikings two-game winning streak over their border rivals ended on Saturday, as the Green Bay Packers outscored the Vikings 38-25 at Lambeau Field. The win drops the Vikings to 7-8 on the season as they return to Minnesota for Christmas over the weekend and then a week of preparation for the season's final game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Here are five takeaways from Saturday's loss to Green Bay.

1. Adam Thielen had a career day

It's been a treat for Vikings Nation to watch the development of WR Adam Thielen over the years. He's gone from small-school longshot undrafted free agent to a bona fide, sure-handed offensive lynchpin for the Vikings. And on Saturday, he had his best day as a Viking. Thielen caught 12 passes on 15 targets for 202 yards and two touchdowns. It marks only the third 200-yard, two-touchdown performance in Vikings history and it gives the Vikings a pair of 800-yard receivers in a season for the first time since 2001 when Cris Carter and Randy Moss accomplished the feat.

2. Turnovers proved costly

As they often do in the NFL, turnovers proved mighty costly for the Vikings on Saturday. Green Bay's offense was hot in the first half, but the Vikings offense was doing well to stay within striking distance until two turnovers in three possessions helped the Packers build up a significant lead. The Vikings were trailing 14-6 early in the 2nd quarter and had the ball with a 2nd and 7 from their own 43 when a botched snap by Nick Easton was recovered by Green Bay, ending a drive that could've pulled the Vikings to within one or a tie. The possession after Thielen's 71-yard touchdown reception ended with a fumble, too, as Packers LB Clay Matthews came from Bradford's blindside and strip-sacked him. In a game in which the Vikings lost by two scores and had 446 yards of offense, it's hard not to wonder what the Vikings could've done with those two lost possessions.

3. Vintage Aaron Rodgers dazzled in the first half

The Vikings under Mike Zimmer have had their share of success in battling against Aaron Rodgers, but in the first half of Saturday's game Rodgers was simply unstoppable. He started the game 10 of 10 for 137 yards and finished the first half with 268 yards and three touchdowns on 19 of 22 passing. The Vikings defense adjusted and calmed things down a bit in the second half, holding Rodgers to a more modest nine of 16 for 79 yards and one touchdown, but the damage was done by that point and Rodgers' streak of impressive play over the past six weeks continued against the Vikings.

4. Hunter, Kendricks impressed

A pair of 2015 draft picks made life a little tougher for Rodgers on the afternoon. DE Danielle Hunter, a third-rounder last year, continued his outstanding season on Saturday by tallying 1.5 sacks. He now has 12.0 for the season, which is a team high and is double what he had in an impressive rookie season. LB Eric Kendricks, a second-rounder in 2015, was also in Rodgers' face during the game, bringing the quarterback down for 2.5 sacks. Kendricks had 3.0 tackles for loss on the day and was the team's leading tackler with 11 stops on the afternoon.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Eve at Lambeau Field.

5. Vikings playoff chances eliminated with Saturday's loss

The Vikings entered Week 16 action needing a win over division rival Green Bay plus a loss by Tampa Bay in New Orleans to stay alive in the NFC playoff chase. The Saints were good on their end of the bargain, defeating the Buccaneers 31-24. But the Vikings were unable to pull off an upset on the road, which eliminates them from playoff contention with one game to play.

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