Packers keep playoff hopes alive by defeating NFC North rival Vikings
GREEN BAY, Wis. — If the Green Bay Packers’ New Year’s resolution is to make it to the playoffs, they knew they couldn’t fall off the wagon on New Year’s Day.
And fall off they didn’t, as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 41-17 at Lambeau Field.
The Vikings got on the scoreboard first with a field goal early in the first quarter, but the Green and Gold answered back fast with cornerback Keisean Nixon returning the kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.
Later in the quarter, safety Darnell Savage picked off Kirk Cousins and returned it for 75 yards, putting the Packers up 14-3.
In the second quarter, tight end Robert Tonyan ran the ball into the end zone and Mason Crosby made two field goals, including a 56-yard attempt at the end of the quarter that bounced off the crossbar, widening the team’s lead to 27-3.
Two turnovers in the first half kept the Vikings from answering back in a meaningful way.
It wouldn’t be until the fourth quarter that the Vikings would add to their score in the form of a touchdown from Jalen Nailor. By then, the Packers had widened their lead even more thanks to touchdowns from running back AJ Dillon and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, who did not practice on Wednesday, took to the field despite a knee injury and an earlier broken thumb. Receiver Christian Watson and cornerback Keisean Nixon had been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
The Vikings responded with another touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the lead the Packers had established.
The last time this season the two teams met, the Vikings, who clinched the NFC North title two weeks ago, beat the Packers 23-7 at U.S. Bank Stadium.\
Packers need just one more win to make the playoffs. The team host the Lions for the regular season finale this weekend.
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