Packers vs. Vikings: Takeaways from Minnesota's 44-31 Loss to Green Bay
Rodgers completed 24 of 29 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson caught seven of those passes for 123 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
The Vikings only ran three plays in the third quarter as Rodgers led the Packer's on a 15-play scoring drive that lasted 8:10. Their second scoring drive in the second half took nine plays and another 5:32 as they scored early in the fourth.
The Vikings scored first when Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kickoff 109 yards for the touchdown. It was his second of the season and gave the Vikings some early hope.
The Vikings were only down 24-17 at halftime but could not generate any offense until the Packers had built a 41-17 lead with just under six minutes left in the game.
Christian Ponder finished 14-of-21 passing for 145 yards. On a positive note, he did not turn the ball over.
Adrian Peterson failed to rush for a 100 yards in the game again. He had 60 yards on 13 carries.
The loss drops the Vikings to 1-6 with a trip to Dallas to play the Cowboys next week.
Here are some of the painful takeaways from this game.
The Difference in Quarterbacks Is Huge
Aaron Rodgers is an elite NFL quarterback—Christian Ponder is not.
Rodgers was efficient as he dissected the Vikings defense. He only had five incompletions as he finished 24-of-29 for 285 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 130.6 for the game.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ponder was deficient has he completed 14 of 21 passes for 145 yards. He didn't throw an interception in a game for the first time this season, but he did not throw a touchdown either. His passer rating was 86.4.
Ponder looked hesitant and unsure for most of the game. His inability to quickly identify a receiver led to him being sacked three times. He did do a better job of getting rid of the ball.
Adrian Peterson's Dominance over the Packers Is Over
Last season, Peterson gained 409 yards against the Packers in two regular-season games. The Packers were able to limit him to only 99 yards in last season's Wild Card Game.
This time, the Packers were able to slow him down mainly by keeping the Vikings offense on the sideline, and scoring so many points that the Vikings couldn't establish the run.
He finished with only 60 yards on 13 carries. He did score on an eight-yard run with four seconds remaining in the second half.
The Green Bay Packers Fans Travel Well
With the Metrodome a mere 26 miles from the Wisconsin border, the Minnesota Vikings' home-field advantage against the Packers is diminished.
With so many disillusioned Vikings fans looking to sell their tickets, the Metrodome had a large contingent of Green Bay fans.
At times, they drowned out the Vikings fans as they had so much more to cheer about. The "Go Pack Go" cheer was actually heard in the Metrodome—that's sad.
Packers fans had plenty to cheer about as Green Bay demolished the Vikings, 44-31.
The Defense Cannot Make a Play on Third Down
The Green Bay Packers converted 13 of 18 third downs on Sunday night. Of the four times the Vikings actually stopped them, Rodgers and the Packers simply converted two fourth downs and kicked three field goals.
The defensive line and linebackers did a decent job of holding the Packers on first and second down—after all, the Packers did have 18 third downs.
It just could not come up with a stop on third down. Many of which were completed passes to extend drives.
The Packers dominated the time of possession in the game by holding onto the ball for over 40 minutes. It was just a matter of time before the defense ran out of gas.
The Vikings Secondary Is Terrible
Rodgers was able to do just about anything he wanted against the Vikings.
He completed two beautiful passes to Jordy Nelson that resulted in touchdowns. On the first, Josh Robinson actually had pretty good coverage on Nelson, but he didn't know the ball was coming until it landed in Nelson's arms in the end zone.
On one play, Myles White, who came into the game with only one catch on the season, took a screen pass from Rodgers. With no blockers in front of him, he faked Chris Cook so bad that Cook fell down as White gained eight yards on the play.
According to ESPN, the Vikings defense did not have even one pass defensed in the game. That's not too hard to believe since Rodgers only had five incompletions.
Cordarrelle Patterson Is Not Bad
Patterson came into the game leading the NFL in kick returns with a 36.5-yard average.
Against the Packers, he improved that. He finished with five returns for 228 yards and a touchdown—a 45.6 average.
It was his second kickoff return for a touchdown of the season. It matches the record set by Percy Harvin in his rookie season in 2009.
It will be interesting to see how many opportunities Patterson will get in the final nine games. He's got a good shot at breaking the record yet this season.
This Was the Last Game Between the Packers and the Vikings in the Metrodome
Just in case you didn't hear Al Michaels mention it, this is the last game these two teams will play in the Metrodome.
Actually, with as poorly as the Vikings have been, one could say they haven't played a game in the Metrodome yet this season.
The Vikings have not won a game at home this season and may not win another this year. That's how bad things are for the Vikings. Their best bet comes in Week 16 when they host the Philadelphia Eagles.
And This Is What Greg Jennings Left Green Bay For?
Against his former team, he had one catch for nine yards. He was only targeted three times in the game.
In his seven years with the Packers, they only had one losing season. The way things are going for the Vikings, he may experience more losses in one season than he did over the past three with the Packers.
It's said that money cannot buy happiness, and I have no doubt that Jennings is crying all the way to the bank.
There's Just No Hope Left for This Team
The truth is the Vikings are a mess.
They don't have a starting quarterback who can lead this offense on a time-consuming drive.
The defense is a wreck.
They cannot come up with the big play to get themselves off the field. As the game grinds on, they wear out, and the score differential increases.
The coaching staff has no answers.
They can play all the quarterback roulette they want, but it doesn't make a difference. Next week, Josh Freeman will most likely get the start, but that does nothing to improve the defense.
With each frustrating loss it is becoming more and more apparent that last season was the aberration, and things are going to get worse before they get better.