MINNEAPOLIS – The Packers’ defense got two huge turnovers that both led to scores, and Green Bay was within 14-10 of the Vikings at halftime on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Here's a recap of the first half.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers exited the game on Green Bay’s second possession with a right shoulder injury, and backup Brett Hundley took over as the first quarter with the Vikings ended scoreless.
The Packers took the ball first, as the Vikings deferred upon winning the coin toss, but Green Bay went three-and-out. Rodgers’ third-down pass was batted at the line of scrimmage by LB Anthony Barr.
The Vikings got two first downs on a 16-yard scramble by QB Case Keenum and a 10-yard run by RB Latavius Murray, but the drive stalled at midfield.
The Packers picked up two first downs on their second drive, but on the next series, Barr hit Rodgers outside the pocket just as Rodgers got rid of the ball, and Rodgers stayed down. He left the game for treatment in the sideline medical tent, as backup QB Brett Hundley came on, and the Packers failed to convert on third down.
As the Vikings’ next series started from their own 16, Rodgers was carted to the locker room. It was announced Rodgers had a right shoulder injury, and his return was questionable.
The Vikings were given two first downs on third-down penalties by the Packers, and then a screen pass to RB Jerick McKinnon went for a touchdown but was called back for an ineligible player downfield. LB Blake Martinez then made a nice open-field tackle of McKinnon on a third-and-5 swing pass, and the Vikings punted from midfield again.
After RB Ty Montgomery gained eight yards on two runs, Hundley’s third-down pass for WR Geronimo Allison was deflected and intercepted by CB Xavier Rhodes. Barr was called for a personal foul after the turnover, so the Vikings began the possession at the Green Bay 42.
LB Jake Ryan was flagged for a horse-collar tackle on McKinnon on the final play of the first quarter, moving Minnesota inside the 30-yard line.
On the first snap of the second quarter, the Vikings caught the Packers in an all-out blitz, and a screen pass to McKinnon went 27 yards for a touchdown. K Kai Forbath’s PAT put the Vikings ahead 7-0.
The Packers still could not get a first down. Hundley was sacked by DE Brian Robison and S Harrison Smith on third down, and Packers LG Lane Taylor was down after the play and being attended to. Taylor walked off slowly under his own power. P Justin Vogel shanked a 26-yard punt out of bounds, and the Vikings started at the Green Bay 42.
McKinnon busted off a 20-yard run on the first play, but Ryan knocked it loose on the next snap, and LB Clay Matthews scooped it up and rumbled nearly the length of the field the other way. Matthews had the ball punched out from behind, but it went out of bounds, and the Packers had the ball at the Minnesota 18.
Justin McCray came in at LG for Taylor, and on third-and-6 from the 14, Hundley found WR Davante Adams for the touchdown. K Mason Crosby’s PAT tied the game at 7 with 10:40 left in the half.
Minnesota answered with a deep ball on its very next play, and Keenum’s pass for WR Adam Thielen was behind the receiver. But Packers CB Josh Hawkins was called for pass interference, good for 42 yards for the Vikings into Green Bay territory. After a successful Green Bay challenge overturned a 14-yard pass to TE Kyle Rudolph, Keenum hit Thielen for 11 yards and Rudolph for 16 for a first down at the Green Bay 15.
A Murray run for 7 and a shovel pass to Rudolph for 6 made it first-and-goal on the 2. On third down, McKinnon took a handoff out of shutgun and powered in for the TD. Forbath’s PAT made it 14-7 Vikings with 7:22 left in the half.
The Packers immediately went three-and-out, as Smith came on a blitz and sacked Hundley on third down. Vogel’s punt took a good bounce, and PR Marcus Sherels was tackled for a loss on the return, so the Vikings started on their own 18.
The Vikings got going again on a 20-yard pass to Thielen that was upheld after a Green Bay challenge, taking away the Packers’ last challenge of the game. On the next play, LB Blake Martinez tipped Keenum’s pass into the arms of CB Damarious Randall, and his second interception in as many weeks gave the Packers the ball in Minnesota territory.
Hundley then found WR Jordy Nelson with a beautiful back-shoulder throw on third down, good for 26 yards and a first-and-goal on the 8. On third down, Hundley dumped the ball off over the middle to Montgomery, who juggled it while diving for the goal line. The initial call of catch and touchdown was overturned, and the Packers had to settle for a 26-yard Crosby field goal. The kick brought the Packers within 14-10 with 1:51 left in the half.
An 11-yard run by McKinnon and 18-yard pass to WR Laquon Treadwell got the Vikings across midfield. After another first down at the Green Bay 30, Vikings T Mike Remmers was called for a facemask against Packers LB Kyler Fackrell, moving the ball back to the 45. On the next snap, Treadwell was flagged for a blindside block on Packers CB Lenzy Pipkins, moving Minnesota back another 15 yards.
After the Vikings got back to midfield, they tried a fourth-down Hail Mary pass on the final play of the half, and it was incomplete.