The Green Bay Packers fumbled and stumbled their way to their first loss of the season tonight, as the Minnesota Vikings won the first game in their new stadium by a score of 17-14. The Packers picked up just 263 yards of total offense in the game, while Aaron Rodgers was 29/36 for 213 yards, two scores (one rushing) and a killer interception late in the game. He also fumbled three times, losing one.
For the Vikings, Stefon Diggs went wild, burning Damarious Randall with regularity to the tune of nine catches, 182 yards, and a touchdown.
Here’s how it went down.
The Packers won the coin toss but deferred, and the Vikings got the first possession of the game. On the Vikings’ first offensive series, they picked up a single first down on a pass from San Bradford to Adam Thielen, but they fizzled out quickly and were forced to punt. Clay Matthews’ ankle got rolled up on during the series, but he returned for the next series.
The Packers took over on their own 10-yard line. On the Packers’ first play, they caught a huge break - Davante Adams was stripped of the football and Andrew Sendejo recovered for Minnesota, but Randall Cobb stripped Sendejo and got the ball back. Unfortunately, the Packers’ offense was not on the same page and Rodgers couldn’t connect on attempts to Jared Cook or Jordy Nelson, and the Packers punted away.
On the ensuing series, Mike Daniels bulldozed Brandon Fusco for a big sack on second down, and the Vikings punted from midfield. However, Ty Montgomery broke through the line on the punt and blocked the kick, giving the Packers the ball just a few yards behind Minnesota’s line of scrimmage. The Packers flipped the field thanks to a penalty on Minnesota - Aaron Rodgers rolled right off play action on 3rd and 2, and heaved a deep ball to Davante Adams. Terrance Newman interfered with Adams around the five, but still had a chance to come down with the football and could not do so. Another PI penalty on Terrance Newman working on Jordy Nelson set up the Packers at the one. On second and goal, Rodgers ran a bootleg to the left and found Jordy Nelson wide open for the first touchdown at U.S. Bank Stadium and a 7-0 lead.
Daniels was a beast on the next drive once again, stopping Peterson for no gain and a loss of a yard on multiple plays that led to another punt. The Packers could not get much going, though - despite Davante Adams burning Trae Waynes. Rodgers overthrew Adams deep up the sideline, then fumbled after waving the ball around wildly in the backfield, but was saved when JC Tretter fell on the pigskin. That led to another Packers punt.
The Vikings got their first points of the game on the next drive, as a long Adam Thielen reception got them into the red zone. Another catch by Thielen was stripped out by LaDarius Gunter, but Thielen fell on the football to keep possession. Then a 4th-and-2 conversion led to a first down, but two false starts pushed the Vikings back to the 24. Following a short screen to Adrian Peterson and a short pass to Stefon Diggs, Bradford found Kyle Rudolph in the back corner of the end zone with Morgan Burnett in decent coverage to tie the game at 7.
The Packers went three-and-out on their next series, and Jacob Schum’s punt was poor - continuing a theme from throughout the first half. The Packers also forced a three-and-out however, which was credited to Julius Peppers despite Nick Perry doing most of the work.
Rodgers finally had a couple throws in rhythm on the ensuing series, and he found Nelson for a 21-yard catch-and-run on third down. That helped the field position, but it was all the Packers had on that drive as they punted again. It flipped back quickly, though, as Bradford found Diggs deep on play action for a 44-yard gain. A few plays later, Micah Hyde got a big stop on Kyle Rudolph short of the line-to-gain on a third-and-five, and the Vikings kicked a field goal to go up 10-7 just before halftime.
The Packers received the second half kickoff and went three and out. A holding penalty led to a third and 11, and Jared Cook caught a pass from Rodgers right at the sticks but inexplicably ran backwards a yard and gave up the first down, forcing a Packers punt. The Packers’ defense hit Bradford hard on the next series, with a Clay Matthews sack leading to a punt from midfield.
The Packers finally got some ball movement on the ensuing drive, with an assist from the Vikings. Rodgers found Cook for a first down and picked up a pair of penalties on Trae Waynes before Lacy broke out for a 12-yard gain. Rodgers picked up a first down with his legs on third and 8, and although he was hit and fumbled, Cook bailed him out by falling on the football. A few plays later, the Packers lined up on a 4th and 2 from the Minnesota 14 instead of trying to tie the game. James Starks was stopped just short of the line to gain, and the Vikings maintained their three-point lead.
Shortly thereafter, Diggs broke out again for a 46-yard gain on a post route. Adrian Peterson looked to hurt his right ankle on the next play, however. A few plays later on a third down conversion by Minnesota, Micah Hyde also went down holding his left ankle. On the next play, Diggs burned Damarious Randall once again, this time for a touchdown that made the score 17-7.
The Packers’ next drive resulted in more ball movement, and the Packers got down inside the ten-yard line thanks to some more pass interference by Waynes and a deep ball to Nelson, which he caught over Waynes. Then, on third and goal from the ten-yard line, Aaron Rodgers struck with his legs, scrambling up the middle for a touchdown and pulling the Packers back within a field goal at 17-14. On that play, Andrew Sendejo hit Rodgers late but was not flagged; however, JC Tretter took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for defending his quarterback.
The Vikings went three and out on their next drive, assisted by an unsportsmanlike penalty by Diggs, who ran onto the field without his helmet in a small scrum after a running play.
The Packers got a huge cutback hole for Eddie Lacy on second and ten of the next drive, as he picked up a big chunk of yardage. Then Rodgers found Nelson on a screen for six before Lacy picked up one to set up third and three. Rodgers hit Adams on a slant to pick up the first down with a gain of 10. Then Rodgers hit Richard Rodgers for 15. However, Bryan Bulaga whiffed on Brian Robison on the next play and he hit Rodgers, forcing a fumble; the Vikings finally recovered this one at their 44-yard line and took over.
Following a run of 12 for Matt Asiata, the defense locked down, with a Kenny Clark pass knockdown at the line followed by a hard sack by Julius Peppers and Nick Perry on third down. That got the Packers the ball back on their own nine with just under five minutes left.
The Packers got to work on third and seven, as Rodgers found Cobb over the middle for 14, then scrambled for another first down on the next play. He then found Adams on a slant for another first down, but was sacked on the ensuing play for a loss of 4. After the two-minute warning, Rodgers was incomplete to Nelson, setting up a third and 14. Rodgers threw to Davante Adams with Waynes in coverage, but Waynes picked off the pass.
The Packers had all three timeouts, however, but a pass interference penalty on Damarious Randall on third and six gave the Vikings a first down and enough time to run the clock out.
- Clay Matthews had his leg retaped early in the game but returned immediately.
- Letroy Guion left the game with a knee injury in the first half and did not return.
- Micah Hyde left the game with a left leg injury in the third quarter.
- Adrian Peterson suffered a right knee injury and did not return to the game.