Aaron Rodgers, Packers Upset by Kirk Cousins, Vikings on Last-Second FG

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 21, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 21: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after a touchdown in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings had made a habit this season of creatively losing games. On Sunday, they managed to hold on and steal a close win instead.

In a crucial NFC North matchup, the Vikings beat the Packers 34-31, with Greg Joseph hitting a game-winning field goal as time expired. 

It didn't come easy. The Vikings appeared to be in the driver's seat late in the fourth quarter, when Kirk Cousins connected with Justin Jefferson on a 23-yard touchdown pass with just 2:17 remaining. 


JUSTIN JEFFERSON.<a href="https://twitter.com/Vikings?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Vikings</a> retake the lead. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SKOL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SKOL</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBvsMIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GBvsMIN</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/p7l0myzO5w">pic.twitter.com/p7l0myzO5w</a>

But on Green Bay's next play from scrimmage, Rodgers found Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 75-yard touchdown pass. 


PACKERS ANSWER BACK.<br><br>75-yard TD to MVS! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoPackGo?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoPackGo</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBvsMIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GBvsMIN</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/HFcPUszSGZ">pic.twitter.com/HFcPUszSGZ</a>

The Vikings still had the opportunity to move into field-goal position and were bailed out when a Cousins interception was overruled on replay and deemed an incomplete pass. A 26-yard pass to Adam Thielen and a 12-yard run from Dalvin Cook later, and Joseph lined up to hit the clinching kick. 


VIKINGS WIN. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SKOL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SKOL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBvsMIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GBvsMIN</a> <a href="https://t.co/V6jot3JjtR">pic.twitter.com/V6jot3JjtR</a>

This wasn't just a nice rivalry win for the 5-5 Vikings. It also pulled them to within 2.5 games in the NFC North behind the 8-3 Packers. It was key for the Vikings in the wild-card race, keeping them in the running in what has become a jumbled group of teams in the loaded NFC. 

The Vikings are now 4-5 in games decided by eight points or less. They'll need to keep winning matchups like this if they're going to sneak into the playoffs. 

Key Stats

Kirk Cousins, MIN: 24-of-35 for 341 yards and three touchdowns

Justin Jefferson, MIN: Eight catches for 169 yards and two scores

Dalvin Cook, MIN: 22 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown; three receptions for 29 yards

Aaron Rodgers, GB: 23-of-33 for 385 yards and four scores

Davante Adams, GB: Seven catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns

AJ Dillon, GB: 11 carries for 53 yards; six catches for 44 yards

Justin Jefferson Is A Cheat Code

It's easy to forget that Justin Jefferson is only in his second season. He just has a savvy veteran's knack for making big plays for the Minnesota offense. 

Look no further than his two touchdowns Sunday:


It's Griddy time in Minnesota.<a href="https://twitter.com/Vikings?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Vikings</a> lead 23-10. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SKOL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SKOL</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBvsMIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GBvsMIN</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/FclvoeqbCW">pic.twitter.com/FclvoeqbCW</a>

Andrew Perloff @andrewperloff

Justin Jefferson is just so good.

Mina Kimes @minakimes

I would run through a wall for Justin Jefferson

Oh, and he set up a Dalvin Cook one-yard plunge in the first quarter too:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Justin Jefferson hauls in the deep ball and takes it down to the 1 😤<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>) <br> <a href="https://t.co/5DoFD3MUeM">pic.twitter.com/5DoFD3MUeM</a>

The dude is special. The Vikings found themselves a superstar. 

Davante Adams Isn't A Popular Guy In Minnesota

Throughout his career, Adams has terrorized the Vikings. In fact, no other receiver in NFL history has torched the Vikings quite like Adams, who set a record with his first touchdown reception Sunday:

Green Bay Packers @packers

.<a href="https://twitter.com/AaronRodgers12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AaronRodgers12</a> finds <a href="https://twitter.com/tae15adams?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tae15adams</a> in the end zone!<br><br>TOUCHDOWN 🙌<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBvsMIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GBvsMIN</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoPackGo?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoPackGo</a> <br><br>📺 FOX <a href="https://t.co/6A1ZG3IQcm">pic.twitter.com/6A1ZG3IQcm</a>

Lily Zhao @LilySZhao

With that 11th TD catch by Davante Adams, he now has the most by any NFL player against the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vikings?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Vikings</a>.

And then, for good measure, he added a second:


Go head <a href="https://twitter.com/tae15adams?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tae15adams</a> 🔥 <br><br>Two TD day for the <a href="https://twitter.com/packers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@packers</a> WR! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoPackGo?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoPackGo</a> <a href="https://t.co/xS4uJWlHtv">pic.twitter.com/xS4uJWlHtv</a>

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Might wanna cover Davante Adams.

Matt Schneidman @mattschneidman

Davante Adams now has seven TD catches in his last three games against the Vikings.

Adams remains one of the top wideouts in football and Rodgers' favorite target. In Minnesota, however, he's persona non grata. And for good reason.

What's Next?

The Packers face one of their tougher tests of the season when they host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox. The Vikings will travel to San Francisco when they play that same date and time, also on Fox.