Vikings 16, Packers 0, Harrison Smith Leads Vikings Shutout of Packers
Week 16: Vikings 16, Packers 0
The Minnesota Vikings hadn’t shutout a team since December 5th, 1993 in a 13-0 win over the Detroit Lions. That’s the year Stefon Diggs was born. They hadn’t shutout the Packers since 1971. That all changed Saturday night.
The Packers, decimated by many key injuries to starters, were out matched by Minnesota, who welcomed back key players from injury before earning their tenth victory in 11 games. The Vikings shutout the home team 16-0.
Left tackle Riley Reiff and cornerback Mackensie Alexander joined the team after missing last week’s win over Cincinnati. Both did their part in helping Minnesota climb to 12-3 on the season.
Neither team lit up the scoreboard on a frigid night in Green Bay.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum went 14 of 25 for 139 yards with a touchdown. He was sacked three times but did not commit a turnover. Keenum hit eight different receivers. His counterpart, Brett Hundley, went 17 of 40 for 130 yards and two interceptions.
It was the man responsible for intercepting those two passes that made the difference. Harrison Smith, lead Pro Bowl snub, led the way for the Vikings difference, accounting for eight tackles, two passes defended, a tackle for loss, and two interceptions.
He helped the Vikings defense contain Packers leading rusher Jamaal Williams to 58 yards rushing on 15 carries. Of all the Packer ball carriers Hundley was the most effective, scrambling for 48 yards on five total carries.
Latavius Murray led all players in rushing with 69 yards on 21 carries (3.3 YPC). Jerick McKinnon added 42 yards on seven carries (6.0 YPC).
24 year-old Diggs led the Vikings in receiving with five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, his seventh of the season. It was his second straight game catching a touchdown. The Packers leading receivers, Michael Clark and Lance Kendricks, each collected 36 yards.
Kai Forbath hit 3 of 3 field goals and his only extra point attempt.
Green Bay was shutout for the second time at home this season.
The Packers ruled out many key players before the game, including two starting linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, starting right guard Jahri Evans, number one cornerback Damarious Randall, and then lost right tackle Jason Spriggs on the first play of the game. During the game RB Aaron Jones and TE Richard Rodgers were also lost to injuries.
The performance of Minnesota’s defense coupled with the injuries suffered by Green Bay were evident as the Vikings controlled this game throughout.
- Kai Forbath 49-yard field goal
Vikings 3, Packers 0
- Stefon Diggs 4-yard touchdown from Case Keenum (Kai Forbath extra point good)
Vikings 10, Packers 0
Halftime, Vikings 10, Packers 0
Vikings Halftime Leaders
- Passing – Case Keenum: 9 of 14 for 75 yards and one touchdown
- Rushing – Latavius Murray: 9 rushes for 36 yards
- Receiving – Stefon Diggs: 4 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown
Packers Halftime Leaders
- Passing – Brett Hundley: 10 of 16 for 49 yards and one interception
- Rushing – Jamaal Williams: 7 rushes for 29 yards
- Receiving – Randall Cobb: 4 catches for 22 yards
Notable Halftime Stats
- Packers: 1 of 7 on third downs
- Keenum hit six different receivers in the first half
- Harrison Smith: 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception
- Kai Forbath 20-yard field goal
Vikings 13, Packers 0
- Kai Forbath 27-yard field
Vikings 16, Packers 0
Final: Vikings 16, Packers 0
- Left guard Nick Easton left the game late in the first quarter after suffering an injury to his right ankle. Easton was then carted off the field. Jeremiah Sirles replaced Easton at left guard.
- UPDATE: Easton is out for the season with a fractured right ankle according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 24, 2017
- Cornerback Tramaine Brock did not play.
- Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (ankle) was carted to the locker room during the two-minute warning of the first half. He did not return.
- Longsnapper Kevin McDermott walked off the field holding his right wrist before half. He did not return.
- Left tackle Riley Reiff left the game early in the fourth quarter but returned to the field on the next drive.
Minnesota can clinch a first-round bye tomorrow if Tampa Bay beats Carolina.
The Vikings take on the Chicago Bears at home in Week 17 Sunday, December 31st at noon.