Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

5 Takeaways: Vikings Eliminated from NFC Playoffs by Loss to Packers

View game action photos between the Vikings and Packers during the Week 17 Sunday Night Football matchup at Lambeau Field.

The Vikings will once again be watching the playoffs on the couch.

Minnesota was eliminated from postseason contention with a 37-10 loss to Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, marking the second straight season that the Vikings have missed out on the dance.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer had found success in odd-numbered years, making the playoffs in 2015, 2017 and 2019 in his tenure. Minnesota has now missed the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time under Zimmer.

The Vikings, who also dropped to 7-9 (their record during 2020), will have a losing season for the second straight season. Minnesota is 71-56-1 in nearly eight seasons under Zimmer.

Minnesota kept it close through a quarter-and-a-half but simply couldn't keep pace against a high-powered Green Bay offense. The Vikings were outgained by the total of 299-70 in the first half.

The final outcome was the most lopsided of the season for the Vikings, who had played 12 consecutive one-score games — and 14 times in their first 15 of 2021 — before the double-digit loss to the Packers.

Green Bay, which had already clinched the NFC North, moved to 13-3 and also wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed in the conference.

Minnesota closes out the regular season at home against Chicago in Week 18. Kickoff is at noon (CT) against the Bears, who are 6-10 and also out of playoff contention.

Here are four more takeaways from Minnesota's Week 17 loss:

1. Mannion starts, Mond makes NFL debut

Sean Mannion was thrust into the starting lineup Friday when he came off the Reserve/COVID-19 list … and starting quarterback Kirk Cousins went on the list.

Mannion completed 22 of 36 passes for 189 yards and a score. Mannion's 14-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn to close out the third quarter was the first of the quarterback's career.

But the journeyman backup, who made the third start of his career and second in Purple, couldn't spark a Vikings offense that put together a mostly lackluster performance in prime time.

Minnesota tallied just 206 total yards on 52 plays, which amounted to just 4.0 yards per play.

The Vikings also struggled on third downs, converting just twice on 12 tries. Minnesota was also 2-for-12 on third downs a week ago against the Rams.

The Vikings best hope to win likely rested on a big game from Dalvin Cook, but the Vikings running back was bottled up by the Packers.

Cook ran the ball nine times for just 13 yards Sunday night, his lowest total of the season. Mannion tallied 14 rushing yards to lead Minnesota.

Justin Jefferson had six catches for 58 yards. The second-year wideout now has 103 catches on the season, making him the fifth player in team history to have at least 100 catches in a single season.

An odd stat: center Garrett Bradbury was credited with a 21-yard reception in the third quarter, which went down as the second-longest pass play of the night for Minnesota.

Kellen Mond made his NFL debut midway through the fourth quarter.

The third-round rookie completed two of his three passes for five yards in one series of action.

2. Early success for the red-zone defense

As mentioned above, the Vikings hung close for the first 20 or so minutes of Sunday night's game.

Minnesota's red-zone defense had a hand in that, as Zimmer's unit kept the Packers out of the end zone on their first three trips inside the red zone.

The Vikings forced the Packers to kick a 35-yard field goal on their first possession, then clamped down and forced a turnover on downs on Green Bay's second trip inside the 20-yard line.

The Packers settled for three more points in the second quarter on a 36-yard field goal to make it 6-0.

Green Bay eventually found success, however, scoring touchdowns on plays from 20, 11, 4 and 7 yards out to help open up a double-digit lead against Minnesota.

3. Few answers for Packers playmakers

Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers were once again a thorn in the Vikings side.

Adams caught 11 passes for 136 yards and a score against the Vikings, continuing his recent dominant stretch against them. In his past four games against Minnesota, Adams has 39 catches for 459 yards and a whopping eight scores.

Rodgers, meanwhile, helped make his MVP case on national television. He threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. In his past six games, Rodgers has thrown 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Packers running back Aaron Jones also showed his versatility with 100-plus yards from scrimmage, including 76 rushing yards. Jones had a pair of 25-plus yard runs on the night.

AJ Dillon scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for Green Bay, who topped the 35-point mark for the fourth time this season.

4. Bright spots on special teams

On a night to forget, a pair of Vikings flashed on special teams.

Greg Joseph prevented a first-half shutout with a 51-yard field goal, which is the longest field goal made in a January game at Lambeau Field, according to the NBC broadcast.

Joseph continued to show his range (although this kick was even more impressive in the cold), as he now has the second-most field goals of 50-plus yards in a single season in franchise history.

Kene Nwangwu also had a solid game, totaling 86 yards on three kickoff returns. His longest return of the night went for 37 yards.