One Shiny Silver Lining Came from Vikings Loss in Week 17

One must dig to the very bottom of the bag to find a silver lining for a 24-point loss to a team’s most hated foe, perhaps even dabbling in “moral victory” territory.

The Green Bay Packers shivved the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, humbling the purple team to the tune of 41-17. And 14 of the 17 points arrived via true-blue garbage time.

No statistic or spin rooms can paint the debacle in a positive light — not one. But one silver lining trickled out of the three-hour hellscape. If Justin Jefferson, the face of the franchise now and for the foreseeable future, didn’t hate the Packers before, he joined the club after Sunday.

One Shiny Silver Lining
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson encountered the quietest day of his career in a game where he could’ve theoretically shattered records. The LSU alumnus needed 209 receiving yards to break the single-season record held by Calvin Johnson in 2012 and 244 yards to hit the coveted 2,000-yard mark, a feat never achieved in the NFL.

He fired up 15 receiving yards.

Of course, a player’s individual receiving yards are unimportant to the sport’s team aspect, but the numbers emphatically matter to Jefferson. He wants to dominate the world. And against the Packers, he was belittled before and during the game.

One Shiny Silver Lining Came from Vikings Loss in Week 17

Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander told reporters before Sunday’s game, “[Jefferson] don’t jump into no supersuit, get dressed and go outside, you hear me? I don’t either sometimes, but he human is what I’m saying. We ain’t putting too much on him, he’s a really good receiver by the end of the day.”

“I’m a really good corner, we’ve got really good corners, we’ve got really good linebackers you know, d-line whatever it is. You don’t want to put too much focus on that one person cause, like, the first game that was a fluke,” Alexander concluded.

The Meme You Need for Sunday's Packers-Vikings Game
Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander. © Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

So, what happened here? Simple. Alexander talked a lot of feces — and then he backed it up with a bit of safety help from time to time. The brash Packers defender insisted he could contain Jefferson, and boom, Jefferson was contained.

Along the way, Alexander fired up a would-be taunting moment, hitting Jefferson’s signature dance after a pass-breakup.

The celebration wasn’t flagged for taunting — nobody really knows why — and set the tone for his afternoon versus Jefferson and the Packers performance on the whole. After the game, Alexander affirmed, “I meant what I said.”

Jefferson’s commented on Alexander’s tactics, “Trying to get Jaire to put hands on me, not giving me that free release off the line. Just like I said, they had a good strategy, good gameplan.”

Explained: Fallout from Vikings Win against NYG
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

“It just wasn’t our day. We’ve just got to do better all the way around. When we lose, we lose bad. We’ve got to fix that and find ways to be better throughout the whole game,” Jefferson added.

It wasn’t the Vikings day indeed, and in all likelihood, the Packers prevented Jefferson from making history. Jefferson needs a monster day at Chicago next Sunday to set the aforementioned records — in a game he may not even play. The Vikings brass must decide to finish the season on a high note, possibly playing starters to beat the Bears. Otherwise, head coach Kevin O’Connell can rest starters — like his probable playoff counterpart New York Giants will — preparing for the Wildcard round of the postseason.

But one item is clear: Jefferson probably didn’t enjoy the Packers before Sunday. Now, though, he might’ve solidified his disdain for the natural rival like the rest of the Vikings masses.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).