GREEN BAY – The Packers secured the No. 1 seed for the NFC playoffs in a 37-10 runaway victory over the Vikings on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
With the win, Green Bay improved to 13-3 on the season. Coupled with the Cowboys' loss earlier Sunday, the Packers clinched the top seed, plus the first-round bye and home-field advantage that go with it. Meanwhile, the Vikings fell to 7-9 and were eliminated from postseason contention.
The Packers jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter and were never threatened in this one, as Vikings backup QB Sean Mannion was no match for Green Bay's defense. Mannion was playing in place of Kirk Cousins, who went on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers likely put the finishing touches on his fourth NFL MVP award by going 29-of-38 for 288 yards with two TDs for a 114.8 passer rating. WR Davante Adams had 11 catches for 136 yards and a score, breaking his own single-season franchise record for receptions in the process. WR Allen Lazard added six catches for 72 yards and a TD.
On the ground, RB AJ Dillon had 14 carries for 63 yards and two scores, while RB Aaron Jones added eight carries for 76 yards.
For the Vikings, RB Dalvin Cook had just 13 yards on nine carries as the Packers' run defense had its best showing in several weeks. Mannion was 22-of-36 for 189 yards with a TD and 84.1 rating.
Minnesota managed only 11 first downs, was 2-of-11 on third downs, and gained just 206 total yards to Green Bay's 481 yards.
Here's a recap of all the action:
Packers lead Vikings 3-0 after one
Minnesota won the opening coin toss and deferred. Davante Adams converted both first downs on the Packers' opening series with a 19-yard catch down the sideline on second-and-8 from the Green Bay 27 and then a 30-yard pass on corner route to the Vikings' 17 after motioning from the backfield.
The Packers settled for a 35-yard Mason Crosby field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 11 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sean Mannion's first pass was a completion to tight end Tyler Conklin. Head Coach Matt LaFleur was forced to use his first challenge on the play after officials didn't rule Conklin down by initial contact. The challenge saved 11 yards.
The Vikings went for it on fourth-and-3 from the Green Bay 47 but Mannion's play-action pass to C.J. Ham was incomplete with Preston Smith being credited with the pass defensed.
Aaron Jones broke a 27-yard run off left tackle on third down after AJ Dillon picked up eight yards on his first two carries. The Packers unsuccessfully went for it on fourth-and-2 at the Minnesota 11, with Aaron Rodgers' pass for Adams falling incompletion for the turnover on downs.
Packers lead Vikings 20-3 at halftime
The Packers and Vikings traded three-and-outs before Jones ignited Green Bay's next series. He started the drive with a 12-yard catch before breaking a 28-yard run that moved him past Ryan Grant for fifth all-time in career rushing yards.
Allen Lazard also made an impressive 13-yard catch on a crossing route to move the ball to midfield. The Packers ultimately settled for a 36-yard Crosby field goal to extend their lead to 6-0 with 9:11 left in the first half.
Rodgers also surpassed 55,000 career passing yards on the drive, making the NFL's reigning MVP just one of 10 quarterbacks in league history to reach that mark.
Rashan Gary sacked Mannion on first down for a 10-yard loss. It was his team-leading 9½ sack of the year. The Vikings went three-and-out for the third straight series.
Green Bay did not. Rodgers hit Adams in the flat on a third-and-1 on a read-option for 15 yards. On a 5-yard catch, Adams became the sixth receiver with at least 600 catches, 8,000 receiving yards and 70 touchdowns in NFL history.
Adams is also the fourth receiver in team history with 8,000 receiving yards, joining Donald Driver, James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe.
The Packers extended their lead to 13-0 with Allen Lazard leaping and coming down with a 20-yard touchdown pass with 4:11 left in the half.
Minnesota went three-and-out for the fourth straight series, with Preston Smith sacking Mannion for a 5-yard loss on third-and-10.
The Packers moved the ball back into Vikings' territory with a 19-yard pass to Adams at the two-minute warning. Rodgers extended his consecutive completion streak to 10, eventually connecting with Adams on an 11-yard touchdown to push the Packers ahead 20-0 with 1:05 left in the half.
The Vikings moved into Packers' territory during their two-minute series. Greg Joseph ended the first half with a 51-yard field goal.
Packers lead Vikings 30-10 after three
The Packers' defense opened the second half with a three-and-out, with Dean Lowry pressuring Mannion into an incompletion on third-and-9.
Recently signed returner David Moore returned the ensuing punt 21 yards, a season-long for Packers' special teams. The Packers took over at the Vikings' 37 after an unnecessary roughness penalty on Minnesota.
The Packers used the field position to pound the ball with Dillon, who ran it four straight times and picked up 22 yards en route to a 4-yard TD run to make it 27-3.
It's the fourth time in team history and the first time since 1980 that the Packers had a pair of RBs (Dillon and Jones) both post 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage in the same season (1980, Eddie Lee Ivery and Gerry Ellis / 1972, John Brockington and MacArthur Lane / 1971, John Brockington and Donny Anderson)
Preston Smith tackled Cook for a 5-yard loss on first down, leading to a fourth-and-3 at midfield. The Vikings went for it, with Mannion's pass falling behind Jefferson.
The Packers got back in scoring range with a 13-yard pass to Adams, which tied his franchise record for most in team history in a season at 115. A 37-yard Crosby field goal made it 30-3 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
That was a weird play near the end of the quarter where center Garrett Bradbury caught a deflected pass, for 21 yards, off a pass intended for Tyler Conklin. Mannion threw his first career TD pass to K.J. Osborn at the end of the quarter to cut the Packers' lead to 30-10.
Packers beat Vikings, clinch top seed in NFC playoffs
Adams' reset his own franchise record for single-season receptions at 116, with a 5-yard catch on the drive. Dillon caught a 9-yard pass to convert on second-and-5 and move Green Bay inside Minnesota's red zone.
Rodgers moved the Packers into goal-to-go with a 5-yard scramble on third-and-3. Dillon took it from there, powering in for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 37-10 with 8:41 remaining. The 11-play, 70-yard drive lasted 6 minutes, 19 seconds.
Rookie Kellen Mond replaced Mannion on Minnesota's next series, with the Vikings going three-and-out.
Jordan Love replaced Rodgers with 7:18 left in regulation with first-year running back Patrick Taylor in the backfield. Taylor picked up 18 yards on six carries, while Love was 2-of-4 for 19 before Green Bay punted.