GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson made a little history in the first quarter on Saturday at Lambeau Field, and the Packers jumped out to a 14-3 lead over the Vikings.
The Packers received the opening kickoff after the Vikings deferred and got across midfield on pass completions of 15 yards to WR Jordy Nelson and 10 yards to RB Ty Montgomery. But the drive stalled there and P Jake Schum’s punt from the Minnesota 39 went for a touchback.
Green Bay’s defense opened with a three-and-out. A short pass on third down was dropped near the first-down marker by Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon, and after a 10-yard punt return by Packers DB Micah Hyde, Green Bay took over on its own 39.
QB Aaron Rodgers quickly went to work. Passes of 19 yards to WR Davante Adams and 15 yards to rookie WR Geronimo Allison got the Packers into scoring range. Then on third-and-4 from the Minnesota 21, Rodgers hit Nelson over the middle, and Nelson cut back to the middle and outraced the defense to the goal line for the TD. K Mason Crosby’s PAT made it 7-0 with 7:13 left in the quarter.
The touchdown was the 58th connection from Rodgers to Nelson, passing the 57 by Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman for the franchise record. It was also Nelson’s 62nd career TD reception, moving him past Donald Driver into third all-time in franchise history, behind only Sterling Sharpe (65) and Don Hutson (99).
The Vikings responded quickly. McKinnon had a 20-yard reception and 11-yard run before WR Adam Thielen caught consecutive passes of 11 and 17 yards to make it first-and-goal on the 10. But after a 6-yard run by RB Matt Asiata, QB Sam Bradford threw high for Thielen in the end zone, and his third-down pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage by LB Clay Matthews. The Vikings settled for a 22-yard field goal by K Kai Forbath to make it 7-3 with 3:37 left in the quarter.
The Packers got going again, as Rodgers hit a wide-open Nelson for 48 yards on the first play of the next series, all the way to the Minnesota 26. On third-and-4 from the 20, Rodgers connected with Adams on a back-shoulder throw at the pylon for the TD, and the Packers led 14-3.
The Vikings got right back into scoring range as Thielen caught a 5-yard pass on third down to move the chains and then hauled in a 32-yarder downfield to the Green Bay 33.