The stress and frequent tight closings are finally paying off for the Minnesota Vikings, much to the relief of head coach Mike Zimmer.
Greg Joseph hit a 29-yard field goal with the clock closing on zero to give the Minnesota Vikings a 34-31 victory Sunday over the Green Bay Packers, closing out a classic back-and-forth clash with Aaron Rodgers for make sure the three-time NFL MVP didn’t have the ball at the end.
“There are those who say that Sunday is a fun day, but it is not, at all,” said an exhausted Zimmer after the game was defined on the last play, for the sixth time in 10 games. The Vikings (5-5) have won three and lost three of those games.
The only team in the NFL that this year has led by seven points or more in every game, each of its games has been decided by a touchdown.
Kirk Cousins threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings (5-5), who had another game defining on the final play after Rodgers threw three of their four touchdown passes in the second half.
“Hopefully going forward we’re going to find a way to define games when we should, but we’re still learning how to do it,” said cornerback Patrick Peterson. “I believe that continuing to face these situations will continue to help us improve.”
After not training all week with a big toe injury after missing the first half of the month with COVID-19, Rodgers hit 23 of 33 passes for 385 yards, his most this season.
“It’s very painful. They stepped on me in the first half and it triggered all the symptoms I had,” Rodgers said. “Next week will be another painful one for me, but I hope I can recover and heal well during the bye week.”
Justin Jefferson had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including a catch on third off rookie Eric Stokes in which Cousins capped the series with a 23-yard touchdown after being floored on a Darnell Savage blitz. Dalvin Cook completed a two-yard rushing conversion to make up for an extra point previously missed by Joseph.
“When you’re facing a fiery offense that has a good quarterback and great receivers, you have to keep scoring. We have to start faster,” Rodgers said.