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Week 16 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 16, Green Bay Packers 0


What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings got an early Christmas present when Aaron Rodgers was put back on the IR and the entire Packers offense appeared to not show up. The temperature was below freezing at kickoff and only got worse as the game got going. The Vikings did not have much success on offense but were able to score enough to win the game. Keenum did not look comfortable throwing in the cold and missed on 11 of his 25 throws today. The defense was the real story this week, pitching their first shutout since 1993. Harrison Smith picked off Brett Hundley twice and held the Packers offense to under 300 total yards. The Vikings cannot win home field advantage after the Eagles won on Monday night and still have not wrapped up a first-round bye. The Packers close the regular season against Chicago next weekend.

Green Bay Packers

There’s not much to feel good about with Green Bay’s offense. If the offensive line can open some holes for Jamaal Williams, he might be a decent flex play against Detroit, but there really is nothing here better than that. Avoid this, try to forget about the season and pray they bounce back in 2018.

Minnesota Vikings

QB Case Keenum, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 25 - 139 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -2 - 0
The offense was not sharp this week, but Keenum was able to do just enough to secure the Vikings 12th victory. Keenum struggled to grip the ball in the cold and missed on several throws to open receivers. He was unable to get his top target in Adam Thielen going and only completed 2 of 6 attempts his way. Keenum found the most success looking towards Stefon Diggs while completing 5 of 8 attempts and a touchdown. The touchdown was a beautiful fade right over Diggs shoulder who was able to toe tap just before going out of the back of the end zone. Diggs beat his man and there was no safety to come over and help. Keenum was unable to scramble out of the pocket and was harassed all day. If the Vikings manage to lock up their first-round bye next week, they will have to go through Philadelphia in the NFC Championship if they make it that far.

RB Latavius Murray, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 69 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)
The pecking order in the Minnesota backfield has come in to focus the final few weeks of the year. Despite the hot start from McKinnon, Murray finally looks healthy and has taken over. Murray out touched McKinnon 22 to 8 this week as the Vikings tried to go to a power run game in the cold. Murray did not find a lot of success against a Packers defense that stacked the box on almost every play and he averaged 3.3 yards per carry. The Packers defense wanted to make Case Keenum beat them and brought the house to stop Murray. His longest run of the day was a 14-yard burst off the right tackle and he added 1 catch for 8 yards in the passing game. The Viking run game should get a boost next week against the Bears at home.

RB Jerick McKinnon, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)
This was a tough game for Viking running backs as a whole, but McKinnon may have been the lone bright spot in his limited duty. McKinnon averaged 6 yards per carry, but the Vikings still did not increase his usage this week. McKinnon had the longest running play for the Viking as well with a 17-yard scamper down the sideline to help set up a field goal for the Vikings. McKinnon was not used nearly as much in the passing game as he only saw 2 targets and caught 1 for 9 yards. The Vikings have a two-headed rushing attack that they have moved away from in recent weeks. McKinnon seems to be being rested down the stretch, but the Vikings will need him as the playoffs approach.

WR Stefon Diggs, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 5 - 60 - 1 (8 targets)
While the rest of the Viking offense struggled in the cold, Diggs stepped up and made plays when needed. Diggs saw more targets with 8 than any other receiver and scored the only touchdown of the game. Diggs also added a 20-yard catch and run for a big first down on top of his touchdown reception. Diggs’ touchdown came on a 4-yard fade route where he was able to toe tap just before going out of the back of the end zone. Diggs simply beat his corner in coverage and the safety did not have enough time to get over and cover. This was the biggest play of the game and proved to be the only touchdown for either team.

WR Adam Thielen, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (6 targets)
Case Keenum just could not get on the same page as Thielen. The Packers were not in particularly great coverage, Keenum just missed on several throws and the Vikings has committed to the run. Thielen managed 21 of his 24 yards on 1 deep crossing route. This is the same route that he has been running all season and Keenum was able to hit him in stride. The QB/WR duo missed on 4 of their 6 targets this week, but with a dominant defensive performance, they were not needed. Thielen may not have been needed this week but he will have to continue his breakout season in the playoffs if the Vikings want to make a run.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)
The Viking offense did not perform particularly well and Rudolph almost completely disappeared this week. The Packer linebackers did a great job covering Rudolph as he was only targeted once for a 6-yard reception. Keenum struggled in the passing game and could not find his big tight end. Rudolph disappeared in the red zone as well where he has been the most effective all season. Rudolph made sure to say it was not his ankle that had him limited this week and that he would be healthy and ready to go for the playoffs.


Green Bay Packers

QB Brett Hundley, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 40 - 130 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 5 - 48 - 0
Even though there is a one more game left, this should put a button on Hundley’s season and any lingering thoughts Packers fans have as to his fitness as a starting quarterback. Yes, the Vikings defense is fierce, but that aside we saw the same inability to complete passes downfield, the same hesitancy in the pocket and the same poor decisions we’ve seen all season long.

RB Jamaal Williams, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 58 - 0 (3 targets)
While Williams has shown us he has the capability to be a solid running back, one thing he hasn’t shown is an ability to create yards when his line isn’t opening holes, or when he faces a solid defensive front. The Vikings’ front is very stout, so Williams went nowhere at all Saturday night.

RB Aaron Jones, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0
Jones’ previous knee issues cropped back up in the first half against the Vikings. He left the game and didn’t come back.

RB Aaron Ripkowski, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)
The fullback was on the field for all of twelve snaps, mostly as a blocker, though he did have one catch.

WR Randall Cobb, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -6 - 0, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (7 targets)
Out of the pure receivers, Cobb was the most “productive”, second behind Lance Kendricks of all people in overall receiving options. As bad as Brett Hundley was under center, Cobb was just as hobbled by the Vikings defense which blanketed him on most routes.

WR Jordy Nelson, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (5 targets)
Nelson’s season of doom continued on Saturday, as he had another mediocre first half, and then left the game with an apparent shoulder injury n the third quarter. He was in a tremendous amount of pain but as of Tuesday there had been no official announcement as to the nature of the injury.

WR Jeff Janis, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Janis is mostly just a special teams player, and we didn’t see anything different when Jordy Nelson went down and Janis had to step in. He wasn’t helped by Brett Hundley’s poor play, either.

WR Geronimo Allison, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)
Other than a tremendous effort in Week 3 against the Bengals, Allison has been as bad as anyone else this season. He wasn’t able to get open consistently and when he was, Brett Hundley had trouble connecting with him, which was pretty much the case across the board.

WR Trevor Davis, 16 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Davis is generally so buried on the Packers’ depth chart you couldn’t see him with a microscope, and the only reason he saw any target at all was because the Packers receiving corps is a mess due to injury.

WR Michael Clark
With Davante Adams out and then Jordy Nelson injured in the third quarter, the Packers turned to a few players off their bench. Clark was a rookie free agent who has been on the practice squad. Saturday we saw why, as he was clearly unable to do anything against Minnesota’s defense. Clark looked a bit lost and more than a little slow out there.

TE Lance Kendricks, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (9 targets)
Kendricks has had a pretty rough season, though he survived where Martellus Bennett couldn’t. Primarily a blocker, the Vikings let Kendricks run a little free, which didn’t amount to much because quarterback Brett Hundley was off target on most of the throws to the big tight end.