The Green Bay Packers are officially on a roll, and their latest victims are the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers were able to close out their not-so-pleasant playing history at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome with one final victory on Sunday night by a score of 44-31.
Aside from allowing the opening kickoff to be returned for a touchdown and a few garbage scores late in the fourth quarter, the Packers dominated their border rivals and improved to 5-2 in the process. Another Vikings loss brought their record to 1-6 and kept them winless on American soil this season.
Some brief performances of note: Packers' running back Eddie Lacy carried a career-high 29 times for 94 yards and a touchdown, Vikings' WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson tied an NFL record for longest play from scrimmage with his 109-yard kick return for a touchdown to open the game, and Aaron Rodgers continued his dominance over the Vikings. He now has a quarterback rating of 117.9 against the Vikings in 12 career meetings, a NFL record for a quarterback against a single opponent.
Lets take a look at some of the winners and losers from the Packers' dominating win over the Vikings.
No surprise here. Rodgers has been his vintage self over the past month of the season. In his last four games Rodgers has thrown for 1,134 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception — good enough for a quarterback rating of 110 over those four games.
Rodgers was once again sensational Sunday, completing 24 of his 29 passes for 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Jordy Nelson. Rodgers received the highest offensive grade (+5.0) from PFF for his performance Sunday. His season grade according to PFF is (+16.8).
Lang has been up and down in terms of performance so far this season, but Sunday was arguably the best game he has played all year.
Aside from giving Rodgers a completely clean pocket all night (allowed only one hurry all game) Lang was great in the running game. Lang's run block grade of (+2.2) was his second-best of the season and his overall grade of (+4.0) was also his second-best of the season.
Lang's move to right guard has gone very well for the Packers and he is becoming more and more comfortable there as the season continues.
Without James Jones, Jermichael Finley, and Randall Cobb, the Packers needed Nelson to have some big games not only this week, but down the road. Well, so far so good.
Nelson received the third-highest offensive grade (+3.9) for his performance Sunday. Nelson caught two touchdown passes and finished the game with seven catches for 123 yards — his 11th career 100-yard receiving day.
Eddie Lacy/James Starks
The combination of Starks and Lacy dominated the Vikings on Sunday. The two combined for a PFF grade of (+5.6) and totaled 151 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carriers.
It's tough to put an undrafted rookie free agent playing in just his second career game in the losers category. However, the grades given out declared him a loser.
White finished the game with the worst offensive grade given out (- 1.5) which isn't that bad for a young player. The biggest gripe I had with White Sunday was the yardage he left on the field after he caught the ball. There were two instances where if White would have just kept running up the field he would've picked up a first down. Ultimately, neither instance hurt the Packers' offense, which was firing on all cylinders.
Lattimore is going to be tough for the Packers to take off the field when Brad Jone comes back. He has been a beast for the Packers since taking over the inside linebacker spot for the injured Jones. This week, Lattimore earned the highest defensive grade given out (+3.3). Lattimore finished the game with three tackles and one sack. While not putting up overly flashy numbers, he was effective in both the run defense (+1.2) and pass rush (+2.0).
Lattimore has started the last three games for the Packers and has a combined grade of (+6.6) in those three games.
It's great to see Raji end up on this list for the first time in quite some time. Raji is noticeably playing with more edge and intensity this season, and his play has picked up because of it.
Raji earned his best grade of the season (+2.1) — he accumulated two tackles and two quarterback hurries and was a menace for the Vikings in all 25 of his snaps from scrimmage.
If Raji can string some more performances like this together, he may be looking at a new contract in the offseason from the Packers, but for now he still has some work to do.
Just when everyone was singing the praises of Burnett over the past few weeks, myself included, he came out and laid an egg against the Vikings.
The most painful play for Burnett came late in the second quarter with 10 seconds left when the Vikings ran a draw to running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson embarrassed the majority of the defense on the play, however, running through Burnett for the touchdown was the definition of a shake-my-head moment. Not too many people can stop Peterson when he smells the goal line, but you have to at least try to get him to the ground.
Burnett finished the game with a season-worst grade of (- 2.7) which was also the worst defensive grade given out to the Packers Sunday.
Patience is running thin in the Packers' organization for Neal. Without Clay Matthews and Nick Perry on the field, Neal has become a non-factor. His move to outside linebacker appeared to be paying off earlier in the season, however, since he has become "the man" on the defensive line, in terms of pass rushing, he has flopped.
Neal's grade this week was (-2.4) and for the third straight week he failed to register a sack and has just two quarterback hits in the last three games. Neal's combined grade over the past three weeks is (- 10.2) and aside from his performance against the Detroit Lions in week five, Neal has been borderline awful this season.
There you have it, a look back at how Pro Football Focus graded the Packers' victory over the Vikings. Make sure you keep it locked at APC as we wrap up Vikings week and get you ready for the best rivalry sports, Packers-Bears.
More from Acme Packing Company:
- Packers Teammates of the Week: Running Backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks
- Packers vs. Vikings in Review: Game Balls Go to Rodgers, Nelson, Hyde
- Packers vs. Vikings Final Score: Nelson, Rodgers Lead Green Bay to 44-31 Win