Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Presented by

Vikings vs. Packers Game Observations: Turnovers to Touchdowns

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings suffered a pair of turnovers in the first half, and the Packers followed each with a touchdown to build a 20-point halftime lead in a 33-10 Green Bay victory that dwindled Minnesota's chances for the playoffs.

Minnesota rookie quarterback Jaren Hall made his second career start and was picked off on his second pass attempt of the night when a ball thrown a little off the mark bounced off Johnny Mundt's hands and floated to Corey Ballentine at the Minnesota 34-yard line. Ballentine returned the football 1 yard.

Jordan Love found Jayden Reed running down the middle of the field between three Vikings for a 33-yard touchdown two plays later for a 10-0 lead with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter.

The teams alternated possessions with Minnesota punting and Green Bay missing a fourth-and-1 on a pass to Bo Melton before the Vikings put together a seven play, 40-yard drive that ended with a 54-yard field goal by Greg Joseph.

Green Bay answered with a drive that included four plays that gained at least 8 yards. Love capped it with an option run from the 2. He dove for the goal line and was initially ruled down, but officials reviewed without a challenge from the Packers and awarded the touchdown for a 17-3 Packers lead with 3:59 remaining in the first half.

The Vikings moved the ball a bit before punting with 1:47 remaining, but the defense forced a quick punt by the Packers.

Minnesota aggressively tried to drive the football with 39 seconds left, but after an 8-yard completion on first down. On second-and-2, Hall was sacked by Preston Smith, who forced a fumble recovered by Karl Brooks at the Minnesota 37-yard line with 26 remaining.

Love found Reed across the middle, and the rookie broke tackles on his way to the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown on Green Bay's third snap, scoring with just 0:08 remaining in the first half for a 23-3 lead at halftime.

Here are four more observations from the game.

  1. Rough start

Hall's first start at Atlanta in Week 9 (after Kirk Cousins injured his Achilles in Week 8 at Green Bay) had shown promise with a limited sample size (5-of-6 passing against the Falcons), but his second career start didn't go as well.

He finished 5-for-10 with 67 yards and a passer rating of 32.1.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell turned to Nick Mullens to open the second half.

Mullens was able to move the ball to open the third quarter, with Minnesota driving to the Green Bay 15, but the drive did not net any points, as Mullens pass to Justin Jefferson on fourth-and-4 from the 9 fell incomplete in the end zone.

Mullens finished  

  1. Thompson makes a mark on punt team

Vikings undrafted rookie NaJee Thompson made an impact as a gunner on the punt return team multiple times.

In the first half, he struck Reed as the ball arrived, resulting in a return for no gain with 1:47 remaining in the first half. Officials initially threw a flag before consulting and determining that Reed waited too long to signal for a fair catch.

Thompson also provided heat on Samori Toure on a punt that started the fourth quarter. Toure muffed the punt, and Thompson recovered the football at the Green Bay 7.

Minnesota scored a touchdown two plays later with a 6-yard pass to Mundt, who played most of the role normally manned by T.J. Hockenson. Mundt finished with four catches for 39 yards.

View game action photos from the Vikings vs. Packers Sunday Night Football Matchup in Week 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

  1. Defense struggles against run and pass

Green Bay was able to move the ball with the run and the pass.

Running backs repeatedly gained yards after contact, and receivers were able to streak and find large gaps away from Minnesota's defenders on multiple occasions.

Aaron Jones rushed 20 times for 120 yards, averaging 6.0 per carry. AJ Dillon added 27 yards on seven carries, and Patrick Taylor added 30 on eight, helping Green Bay rack up 177 yards on the ground.

Practice squad promotion Bo Melton led Green Bay's receivers with six catches for 105 yards, which included a 9-yard touchdown from Love on third-and-1 late in the third quarter.

That score ended a 13-play, 91-yard drive that lasted 8:00 and made it 30-3. The Packers averaged 8-yard gains across six first downs during the possession.

Love finished 24-of-33 passing with 256 yards and three scores for a passer rating of 125.3. He was replaced late in the game by Sean Clifford, who completed his only pass for 37 yards to Melton.

Love was not sacked, as the Packers finished with 470 yards, compared to 211 net yards for Minnesota.

  1. First downs, second downs, third downs

Green Bay totaled 28 first downs, compared to 13 for Minnesota.

Part of that was converting 9-for-14 on third downs, compared to 3-for-10 by the Vikings, but the success on early downs positioned the Packers to keep attacking.

Every time Minnesota appeared to have something going, a sack or penalty halted momentum in its tracks.

In addition to the sack fumble, the Vikings also lost 10 when Hall was sacked on second-and-6 from the Green Bay 35-yard line when the score was still 10-0. The Vikings managed to get the sack yardage back on the next play to set up Joseph's field goal.

The next Minnesota possession also suffered a sack for a loss of 10 on a second-and-6 when a blitz by Quay Walker got home.

The following possession ended with a sack fumble on second-and-2.