Numbers Check: Vikings Win a Shocker
Vikings’ fans get to celebrate their 2020 version of a Super Bowl win as Minnesota went into Lambeau Field and shocked the NFL world by beating the Packers. The most obvious reason behind the win is the return of Dalvin Cook, who carried 30 times and broke 200 scrimmage yards. However, there were a few things that led up to that being possible. Let’s check out a few numbers that won’t make the headlines.
The biggest issue for the Vikings offense this season has been turnovers. Minnesota had two or more turnovers in four of the last five games going into Sunday, and they lost all four of those games.
Against the Packers, they had zero. Kirk Cousins was much more accurate with his throws, and the offense didn’t rely on him to make too many big plays. Without the ability to force turnovers or even force Cousins to throw at all(he only had 14 attempts), the Packers defense was on the field longer than the week one game.
Look, we can’t talk about this game without at least mentioning that Aaron Jones didn’t play. Jones missed the game with a calf injury, and the Packers certainly could have made more of a presence in the run game if he was on the field.
As much as Jones’ impact could have helped change the result of this game, the Vikings defense has to be given credit on three separate drives in the second half. Two of them resulted in fourth down stops to end Green Bay drives, a fourth and 10 and a fourth and nine, and the other resulted in a fourth and 22 that the Packers punted away.
Green Bay was unable to build much second half momentum until the touchdown late in the game, but by then, it was too late.
Green Bay had their worst game of the season in terms of total penalties and penalty yardage. They committed nine penalties for 85 yards, including two red zone pass interference calls that led to one of Dalvin Cook’s four touchdowns. Two other offensive holding calls occurred back-to-back on the second half drive where they punted on fourth and 22.
Green Bay has been fairly disciplined this season, coming into this game ranked seventh in fewest penalties, but that was not the case on Sunday.