Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Next-Day Stats: Stark Contrasts in Vikings-Packers Ground Game Gains

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings were unable to upset the Packers and suffered a 37-10 loss Sunday that eliminated Minnesota from playoff contention.

The offense failed to sustain drives and control the clock, suffering four consecutive three-and-punt possessions.

Although the defense limited Green Bay to six points on its first three trips to the red zone, the Packers capped six consecutive possessions with a score (three field goals and three touchdowns) from the second quarter into the fourth.

Here's a deeper dive at some "next-day stats" with an eye on the ever-increasing number of Next Gen Stats. References to rankings across the league include all Week 17 games except for tonight's game between the Browns and Steelers.

1. Pair of improbables

Aaron Rodgers rarely felt any heat on pass plays, but he showed utter brilliance on one throw with Anthony Barr approaching.

Rodgers lofted a 20-yard touchdown that Allen Lazard secured over Kris Boyd. Running back Aaron Jones pestered Barr to buy Rodgers enough time to deliver the ball.

According to Next Gen Stats, the pass had a completion probability of 25.5 percent, which was the fifth-lowest in terms of likelihood in Week 17.

Vikings backup Sean Mannion, who started in place of Kirk Cousins (Reserve/COVID-19 list), also made the list of this week's "improbable completions." His 30-yard pass with about a minute remaining ranked ninth with a completion probability of 27.7 percent.

2. Two-headed monster

Rodgers has made quite the case for a repeat of the MVP award, but Green Bay's ground game deserves considerable credit for shaping the flow of the game and slamming the door shut.

Aaron Jones rushed six times for 69 yards in the first half, a whopping 11.5 per carry thanks to rushes of 27 and 28 yards.

According to Next Gen Stats, Jones' yardage on each play exceeded what was expected by 22 yards.

Jones was credited with the eighth and ninth longest gains above expectation in Week 17.

With Jones excelling on perimeter runs that have been problematic for the Vikings defense for much of the 2021 season, his counterpart AJ Dillon bulldozed his way through the interior and totaled 63 yards on 14 rushes. Dillon scored on touchdown runs of 4 and 7 yards to ice the game.

3. Stifled 'The Chef'

Dalvin Cook returned to the lineup after missing Week 16 while on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but "The Chef" never got going.

He rushed nine times for 13 yards. That's 1.4 per carry, and his long was 6.

The Packers also took Cook away in the passing game. He caught three passes but netted 0 yards.

That was a stark contrast to last year at Lambeau Field when Cook totaled 163 rushing yards on 30 carries and 63 yards on two catches.

Cook can make people miss, but he didn't have many opportunities to do so — or hit his top speed — Sunday night. Cook's fastest speed through the bitter cold was 18.04 miles per hour. He reached 19.9 mph on a 37-yard run during Minnesota's trip to Green Bay in November 2020.