GREEN BAY – A turnover by Green Bay’s defense was converted into a late TD, and the Packers took a 28-13 lead over the Vikings into halftime on Saturday at Lambeau Field.
The second quarter started with the Vikings facing third-and-9 from the Green Bay 32, and QB Sam Bradford found RB Jerick McKinnon over the middle for the first down, but a personal foul after the play on T Jeremiah Sirles pushed Minnesota back to the Green Bay 37.
Bradford then hit TE Kyle Rudolph for 21 yards for a first down at the 16, but the Packers’ defense got the stop. LB Clay Matthews pressured Bradford into a throwaway on second down, the Vikings took a delay of game, and then Bradford’s third-down pass to WR Stefon Diggs came up 2 yards short of the marker. K Kai Forbath hit his second field goal of the game, this one from 26 yards, to make it 14-6 with 12:30 left in the half.
The Packers then went three-and-out for the first time on the day. Two runs by RB Ty Montgomery gained 9, but then QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled to his right and threw behind Montgomery near the Vikings sideline, and the Packers had to punt.
For Green Bay’s defense, CB LaDarius Gunter exited the game with an elbow injury. His return was announced as questionable.
The Packers got the ball right back. After a 16-yard pass to Vikings WR Charles Johnson, Minnesota C Nick Easton flubbed a shotgun snap. The ball rolled out of his hand and stayed on the ground, with Packers DT Kenny Clark recovering at the Minnesota 42.
The offense wasted no time. Rodgers hit WR Jordy Nelson for 33 yards on the first snap of the series to make it first-and-goal on the 9. After Rodgers scrambled for 7 yards, he found Nelson for a 2-yard TD, and the Packers moved ahead 21-6 with 8:11 left in the half.
Minnesota came right back, though. On the second snap of the next drive, Bradford found Thielen behind CB Quinten Rollins down the sideline, and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix took a poor angle on the play. Thielen caught the pass and walked in for a 71-yard touchdown, and the Vikings were within 21-13 with 7:24 to go before halftime.
The Packers picked up two first downs, but Minnesota’s pass rush took over from there. Back-to-back sacks by DE Danielle Hunter and LB Eric Kendricks forced Green Bay to punt, and the Vikings took over on their own 39.
After Minnesota drove across midfield, LB Clay Matthews drilled Bradford from behind and knocked the ball out. Packers DT Mike Daniels recovered, and Green Bay got the ball on its own 46 with 54 seconds left in the half.
Rodgers immediately hit WR Geronimo Allison for 32 yards to the Minnesota 22. On second down, a 14-yard pass to Nelson made it first-and-goal on the 6. Then Rodgers took it from there, spinning away from the blitz and running the final 6 yards for the TD, giving the Packers a 28-13 lead with 24 seconds left.
Rodgers finished the first half 19-of-22 for 268 yards with three passing TDs and one rushing TD.