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After Further Review: Vikings 1st Stop of Packers Sways Game

Dalvin Cook's tremendous day at Lambeau Field was covered yesterday, today and is likely to be mentioned a few more times here this week.

The third instance of four total touchdowns in one game by a Viking and a whopping 226 scrimmage yards is worth significant mentions in the digital arena.

But the Vikings defense also came up with big plays at critical moments to allow Minnesota to win the third quarter convincingly and for the first time in 2020.

One key stretch occurred on Green Bay's first possession of the third quarter.

After Cook's third rushing touchdown of the day opened the second half, the Packers trailed 21-14 and were looking to answer.

We'll pick up right after Green Bay has converted a second-and-17 with a 45-yard pass to tight end Robert Tonyan and moved the ball to the Minnesota 37.

The field position is key here, because on a day with 23 mph winds, stronger gusts and Packers kicker Mason Crosby dealing with an injury, Green Bay doesn't believe in a 55-yard field goal.

Q3, 8:17 remaining — First-and-10 at the Minnesota 37

The Packers line up in a tight formation with two tight ends (Jace Sternberger and Marcedes Lewis) on the left side, Aaron Rodgers in the shotgun with Jamaal Williams on his left and running back Tyler Ervin in the slot.

Green Bay puts Ervin in motion, and Rodgers makes a quick touch pass to Ervin (Kansas City and others have similar plays).

Vikings linebackers Eric Wilson, Eric Kendricks and Troy Dye adjust quickly and seamlessly to Ervin's motion.

Sternberger and Lewis both go to block cornerback Kris Boyd, either a result of mad respect or because of a missed assignment, leaving Dye to accelerate through the line untouched.

Ervin fails to secure the forward pass, and it falls for an incompletion.


Q3, 8:15 remaining — Second-and-10 at the Minnesota 37

This time the Packers go with two receivers, a tight end and two running backs flanking Rodgers in the shotgun.

Minnesota responds with its nickel defense with Mark Fields II entering the game and Jeff Gladney sliding from outside corner to nickel. Boyd remains at the other corner spot.

Green Bay again puts Ervin in motion before the snap, sending him behind Rodgers and Williams.

Ervin is the intended target on the play, but Kendricks reads it all the way and zips over to pressure the running back on a low throw that again falls for an incompletion.


Q3, 8:12 remaining — Third-and-10 at the Minnesota 37

Green Bay has three receivers (Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the left outside, Equanimeous St. Brown in the left slot and Davante Adams on the right outside), a tight end (Tonyan) and Williams in the game. The Packers max protect with Tonyan and Williams.

Minnesota opts to bring seven defenders, and Hercules Mata'afa has a nice rush off the edge.

Rather than opt for Adams in a 1-on-1 against Fields, Rodgers targets St. Brown across the middle against Gladney, who has safety help from Harrison Smith over the top. The rookie is able to play the pass well and harass St. Brown on another incompletion.


Q3, 13:09 remaining — Fourth-and-10 at the Minnesota 37

The Packers use the same personnel as the previous play, leave Tonyan in to help protect and send Williams through the line on a passing route.

Green Bay's receivers all run routes beyond the sticks and flood the right side of the field with Williams, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown.

Minnesota double-teams Adams with Boyd and Anthony Harris on the left side, leaves Gladney on Valdes-Scantling in the slot and helps Fields' coverage of St. Brown with Smith.

Rodgers commits to the end zone heave to St. Brown, but Smith is able to recover and get enough of the ball to knock it away.

Minnesota may be fortunate on this one that Rodgers was unable to spot Tonyan, an eligible receiver, on the back side of the play, standing at the 41-yard line without a soul in sight.