MINNEAPOLIS —Going into Week 11, the Minnesota Vikings were the least penalized team in the NFL.
On Sunday, Minnesota was penalized eight times for 110 yards. Their first penalty occurred on the first offensive play of the game, a holding call against tackle Matt Kalil.
Conversely, the Vikings NFC North rivals, were flagged just four times for 19 total yards. Green Bay's first penalty wasn't until nearly five minutes in to the third quarter.
"I think they played better than we did tonight," head coach Mike Zimmer told the media during his postgame press conference. "I think we made too many mistakes – penalties, especially in the first half, and it came back to bite us."
Perhaps some of the most costly penalties occurred during Green Bay's final drive of the first half.
On 3rd and 15, cornerback Terence Newman was flagged 50 yards for pass interference against receiver Jeff Janis.
The Vikings then missed another opportunity to minimize damage on the drive. Even though Green Bay was flagged for holding on another third down play, a roughing the passer penalty against defensive tackle Linval Joseph was offsetting.
That allowed the Packers to keep their drive alive, ultimately ending in a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.
"We can't win playing the way we did – too many mistakes," Zimmer said. "We can't return the kickoff back and then get a 15-yard penalty. We can't have pass interferences. We can't have those things and beat a good football team."
Zimmer stopped short of calling the performance "out of character" though, citing some positive performances in addition to the untimely penalties.
"You go back to San Francisco - that was out of character," Zimmer said. "We got beat today, but there were some good things in there, too. We had some penalties, yeah I got it.
"Sometimes you have to give the other team credit as well."
With the loss, the Vikings record fell to 7-3, still good for the current fifth-overall seed in the NFC.
The Vikings still control their own postseason destiny. Zimmer said his team will work to clean up their mistakes heading into a road game next week at Atlanta.
"We've still got six more games to go. Let's play them out."