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Vikings 'Resilient' Defense Stymies Green Bay's Attack

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings had seen this scene before. 

Up by one score with the minutes ticking away Sunday night, Minnesota's defense rose to the occasion once again, forcing a pair of turnovers on Green Bay's final two possessions to secure a 17-14 win.

The play of the stout unit brought back memories of the Vikings Week 17 win at Lambeau Field last season, as Minnesota preserved a seven-point lead with a stand in the closing seconds.

Click here to watch a replay of the Vikings first-ever regular season victory over the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium with NFL Game Pass.

"Our thing is that we're going to put up a fight," said Vikings safety Harrison Smith. "We're going to make you earn it and make it a struggle all night long. We've got a deep roster, and guys are making plays everywhere."

Added Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer: "I think this team is resilient. I think they know I want them to be aggressive in those situations (late in the game)."

On a night when the vaunted Purple People Eaters of Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen and Doug Sutherland were honorary captains at the coin toss, and former Vikings Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant sounded the Gjallarhorn, Zimmer's defense played like one of the best in the league.

The unit sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers five times, with defensive linemen Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson and Danielle Hunter each bringing him down once.

The Vikings have now sacked Rodgers 52 times in his career, making him the most-sacked player in franchise history.

Perhaps no sack was bigger Sunday night than Robison's strip-sack of Rodgers with seven minutes left, which allowed Vikings defensive tackle Shamar Stephen to pounce on the loose ball. 

"Guys kept fighting, no matter what the situation was," Robison said. "We just kept fighting. Sometimes it's not always going to be pretty, but at the end of the day, it's about how you can fight, claw and scratch to get yourself a win."

Minnesota's defense also swarmed to the ball, forcing four fumbles while recovering two of them.

Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes also added a key interception with less than two minutes left in the game that helped seal the win.

The Vikings strong play down the stretch was built off a dominant first half in which they held the Packers to just 65 yards of total offense.

The Vikings finished fifth in points allowed last season as they gave up just 18.9 points per game.

Minnesota is holding offenses to an even lower total so far in 2016. Of the 30 NFL teams who have played two games this season, the Vikings are one of five teams who have allowed 30 total points or less.

It's a strong start for Smith and the defense, who are aiming to be among the league's elite by season's end.

"This is Game 2 ,so we don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Smith said. "But our goal is to be a top defense. That's what we're shooting for."

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