GREEN BAY, Wisc. — The Vikings never trailed in a Week 1 home win and never led in Week 2, but Minnesota is going back across the border with a 1-0-1 mark after tying Green Bay at 29.
Minnesota, which has generally avoided high-scoring affairs under Head Coach Mike Zimmer, found itself needing points in a hurry.
The Vikings have scored 28 or more points 21 times in 66 regular-season games under Zimmer, but opponents have only also scored 28 or more in the same game four times, including Sunday's 29-all tie. Another of the four times was last season at Washington against Kirk Cousins, who was signed by Minnesota this offseason.
Those 29 points are the most by the Vikings in nine Border Battles with Zimmer at the helm.
Zimmer's team limited the Packers to 1-for-5 in the red zone and just 4-for-13 on third down, but multiple miscues on special teams, including a blocked punt recovered in the end zone, helped Green Bay score its fourth-highest total against Zimmer's version of the Vikings.
Green Bay also got nine points on three field goals that capped separate drives that netted 77 yards. One before halftime followed one of three misses by Daniel Carlson. Another was after a 24-yard reception by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on a pass that bounced off Laquon Treadwell's hands.
How would Minnesota respond to real adversity and the need to erase a deficit?
On the road, in a hostile environment and high-stakes game, Minnesota rallied from a 20-7 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter by outscoring Green Bay 22-9 in the final period of regulation.
It was slightly unfamiliar territory, but Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs didn't blink. Neither did Cousins, whose 425 passing yards tied with Daunte Culpepper for the eighth-most by a Vikings QB in one game.
"We've got a guy like Kirk, Diggs, Thielen, they're manning the sideline, telling everyone, 'Keep fighting, keep going, there's a lot of football left,' " Dalvin Cook said. "Those are the guys we lean on to make big plays. When those guys have got good spirit and the o-line, we feel like we can come back from anything."
The Vikings top two receivers combined for five catches, 118 yards and three touchdowns from Cousins in the fourth quarter, giving the quarterback a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeting the dynamic duo.
Cousins was 2-for-6 for 16 yards (both receptions by Kyle Rudolph) when targeting anyone else.
Thielen and Diggs each had more than 100 receiving yards for the first time in the same game, further cementing themselves as one of the NFL's top receiver tandems. They showed they've been battle-tested and were on top of minor details.
Thielen led the Vikings with 12 receptions for 131 yards (10.9 per catch) and had a 22-yard touchdown that brought the Vikings within two points with 31 seconds remaining. He **deftly waited to show his hands** until the last minute to avoid a pass breakup by the Packers.
Diggs, who had nine receptions for 128 yards (14.2 per catch) and touchdowns of 3 and 75 yards, followed that reception with a critical reception on a 2-point conversion pass.
After Thielen and Diggs, Rudolph had seven receptions for 72 yards on eight targets, including a 23-yard gain on a third-and-1. Cook added three catches for 52 yards.
Laquon Treadwell caught two passes for 23 yards on six targets and scored his first career touchdown —a 14-yarder — but was unable to connect with Cousins on consecutive snaps in overtime. Stacy Coley was targeted once, but the pass was incomplete.
Treadwell and Coley haven't had much experience in NFL games, but the Vikings hope to use Sunday's game as a teaching point going forward.
Diggs on the plays that he and Thielen made down the stretch:
"Just me and Adam trying to do everything we can for the quarterback — making plays and do everything we can to put the quarterback at ease," Diggs said. "We just try to lead the way."
When Cousins was asked about the game-tying drive, he spread the credit.
"Anytime you have a drive like that, it takes offensive linemen protecting, it takes receivers catching tough catches, being on the details of where they line up and the spacing on the field, getting out of bounds and being aware of the situation, having a great play caller getting you into the position to get the ball out of your hand and get the open man," Cousins said. "It took so many people to get us down there and I thought it was good for our offense to get there."
Thielen said Diggs' coolness at major moments has been proven time and again.
"That's why we go to him in big situations," Thielen said. "I love that kid more than anything. I get so excited when he makes plays because I feel like he's my brother out there."
Thielen also said Cousins has proven his ability to execute in the clutch.
"I've seen this from him," Thielen said. "Every time we played him when he was in Washington, this was the kind of game it turned out to be. He'd pick the defense apart and make it a game. It's hard to be surprised when you've seen it from afar, and now you're just seeing it in person."
Cousins was asked about what he told Treadwell after the game.
"I said, 'You're fine.' This is a tough game, stuff happens and I threw that ball pretty hard. That was probably my hardest pass of the day," Cousins said. "We just have to get him in the fire where he can be like, 'Been there, done that.' I think everything right now, a lot of it is new for him. I don't know if he was there last year as the 'X' [receiver] on a slant in the 2-minute drill … I don't know. But the ability is there, and as he gets reps and builds that confidence and experience, he can do it all. I have confidence in him."