EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — As Cordarrelle Patterson went to collect the ball, Adam Thielen went to find work.
Patterson picked up a bouncing squib kick by Sebastian Janikowski at the 7-yard line and headed toward the Raiders sideline. He artfully set up a block that was delivered with technique by Thielen on Andre Holmes before cutting up field and racing untouched the rest of the way thanks to a wall of Vikings.
The 93-yard touchdown was the third kickoff return for a score of Patterson's career and 10th special teams touchdown since 2011 when Mike Priefer became Vikings Special Teams Coordinator.
"I think it helped us out a little because he squib kicked it and I guess he didn't think I was going to have an opportunity to get to it," Patterson said Thursday. "Those 10 guys in front of me did a heck of a job. The wall was there for like five minutes, but there was no way I could miss that hole."
Thielen, who had hurt his shoulder earlier in the game on a 14-yard gain on a jet sweep, returned to action and was key to the return, Priefer said, calling it a "crucial block right at the point of attack."
"I think he only missed a couple plays on special teams," Priefer said. "[The training staff] said he was good to go, and we just put him back in there. He's a tough kid, like a lot of our guys. It's important to him, they want to be out there, they want to help us win the game and he did that.
Priefer said the return team did "really, really well" in adjusting to the squib kick.
"It was on the ground, so at that point, you've just got to go find work and make sure that you keep your blocks in front and don't get a penalty," Thielen said.
It was a major momentum shift in the game for the Vikings, who didn't allow a point thereafter by the Raiders.
Minnesota (7-2) hosts Green Bay (6-3) at 3:25 p.m. Sunday. The Packers allowed a 104-yard kickoff return by Detroit rookie Ameer Abdullah last week.
Priefer said he rated Abdullah as the number one kick returner during pre-draft evaluations and had Packers rookie Ty Montgomery next highest.
Running receivers: Much focus has been placed on Adrian Peterson's role in gaining 203 of the Vikings 263 rushing yards, but Minnesota benefitted from receivers running the ball on their opening touchdown drive.
The Vikings motioned Peterson to tailback and ran him for a gain of 6 one play after being awarded with a pass interference call drawn by Stefon Diggs, who had a 10-yard rush in the second quarter. The Vikings followed the Patterson run by giving the ball to Thielen on the jet sweep that was well-blocked by Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison.
The tally? Three carries, 30 yards, and more for defensive coordinators to worry about as they prep for Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher (961 yards).
"It was nice," Thielen said of the carry. "It was one of those things where Coach [Norv Turner] is going to put you in the best position to succeed, and you've just got to go out there and do your job. He's going to make sure he spreads it around and make sure there's openings for everybody."
Game balls to G-C-G: Turner mentioned that Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer awarded game balls to left guard Brandon Fusco, center Joe Berger and right guard Mike Harris for how pleased he was with the way they performed.
The interior of the line had considerable success in the fourth quarter to milk the clock and help **finish off** Oakland as Peterson grew stronger.
Measured mentality: Second-year linebacker Anthony Barr is one of several Vikings staying grounded as the team has risen in standing and power rankings.
"We haven't really done anything yet," Barr said of the Vikings, who are trying to match the six-game win streak the Vikings had to open the 2009 season.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.
Barr is dealing with a hand injury but said it's "feeling good, looking good."
"I'm working every day to get to 100 percent and I'm close," Barr said.
Injury reports: For the Vikings: Matt Kalil (toe), did not participate for a second straight day. Peterson (hamstring) and Barr (hand/knee) were limited. Tom Johnson (concussion), Matt Asiata (quadriceps), Sharrif Floyd, Adam Thielen (shoulder), Marcus Sherels (shoulder), Justin Trattou (foot), Teddy Bridgewater (left shoulder) and Eric Kendricks (ribs) fully participated.
For the Packers: WR Jared Abbrederis (rib/chest) did not participate for a second straight day. T Bryan Bulaga (knee), G T.J. Lang (shoulder), T David Bakhtiari (knee), DB Micah Hyde (hip), LB Clay Matthews (ankle/knee), G Josh Sitton (knee), WR Ty Montgomery (ankle) and LB Jayrone Elliott (ankle) were limited. QB Aaron Rodgers (right shoulder), S Morgan Burnett (ankle), WR James Jones (quadriceps), RB Eddie Lacy (groin), WR Ty Montgomery (ankle), LB Mike Neal (hip) and LB Nick Perry (shoulder/hand) fully participated.