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Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Packers

The Vikings recorded three takeaways, including one on the third play of the game, but missed multiple opportunities in a 23-10 loss to the Packers on Monday Night Football.

Minnesota's offense failed to find its rhythm without Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, and the depth at linebacker also was tested when Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr left the game in the first half and second half, respectively, with injuries.

The Vikings will close the 2019 regular season by hosting the Bears at noon (CT) Sunday.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Packers on Monday Night Football.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. Deep passes mostly mitigated

Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers have made teams pay with deep passes at different points in their careers.

Cousins entered Week 16 with a league-leading passer rating of 131.0 on passes of 20-plus air yards, and Rodgers ranked second with a passer rating of 122.7 on such throws.

Neither QB, however, excelled on passes 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

According to Next Gen Stats, Cousins was 2-for-8 (25 percent) for 49 yards with a touchdown and an interception. That created a passer rating of 52.6.

Rodgers fared even worse at those distances, going 2-for-11 (18.2 percent) for 31 yards with an interception for a passer rating of 1.7. Yes, 1.7.

Rodgers' night, however, was buoyed by the quick passing game. The quarterback took advantage of off coverage by the Vikings to throw darts and allow receivers to run after the catch. On throws that were 10 or fewer yards past the line of scrimmage, he completed 24 of 27 passes (88.9 percent) for 185 yards, which generated a passer rating of 95.2.

Cousins completed 14 of 21 passes (66.7 percent) that were 10 or fewer yards past the line of scrimmage. Those plays gained 73 yards, and he generated a passer rating of 72.1.

2. Outside the tackles

The Vikings were without Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Minnesota turned to the combination of Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah, but the Packers generally bottle-necked the Vikings run game.

The most significant discrepancy in the run game occurred on plays that were run outside the tackles.

Green Bay's Aaron Jones rushed 15 times for 109 yards and scores of 12 and 56 yards when reaching the perimeter.

Next Gen Stats charted seven such carries for Boone that gained 14 yards.

3. Yards per play, time of possession & plays in opponents' territory

OK, so that's actually three different stats, but they seemed to work in unison on a night of putrid productivity.

The Vikings netted 139 yards on 53 plays (2.6 yards per play, which was less than half of the 6.00 they averaged through the first 14 games of 2019). Take out a 21-yard touchdown to Stefon Diggs, a 28-yard pass to the receiver and a 14-yard run by Abdullah on a third-and-19, and that means Minnesota netted 76 yards on 50 plays (1.5 yards per play).

The Packers netted 383 yards on 75 plays for an average of 5.1.

A big disparity in time of possession should follow when a team runs 22 more offensive plays than an opponent, and that was certainly the case Monday. Green Bay held the ball for 37:32 of 60 minutes, thanks to 184 rushing yards and the short passing game.

Lastly, the number of plays that Minnesota ran on the Green Bay side of the 50 and vice-versa was hard to ignore.

The Packers ran 30 plays (40 percent) in positive territory, compared to 13 (24.5 percent) by the Vikings and just two snaps in the entire second half — an interception and a sack.

Green Bay even got one of its two touchdowns in minus territory on the 56-yarder by Jones. Minnesota appeared to do the same on a 53-yard touchdown pass to Bisi Johnson, but officials flagged Riley Reiff for a holding penalty.

Instead of cutting the lead to 23-16 (or 23-17 with a PAT), the Vikings punted with 3:41 remaining in the game.