Vikings cannot stop Packers, Rodgers
In their final game in the Mall of America dome, the Green Bay Packers made ridiculously easy work of the Minnesota Vikings, 44-31.
The Packers (5-2) essentially had their way while scoring their most-ever points in that stadium.
The Packers gained 464 yards in all, including 182 on the ground, converted on 13 of 18 third downs plays and both fourth-down attempts.
"I wasn't going to let this team beat us," said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who just might have received some extra motivation from the back-and-forth with Vikings receiver Greg Jennings that occurred back in training camp.
After the game Rodgers dismissed the question. Jennings, the former Packer who signed with the Vikings as a free agent, was not available to reporters after making one catch for nine yards, but the two former teammates talked peaceably for a few minutes after the game.
The Packers scored every time they touched the ball Sunday, until Rodgers took a knee to end it, and held that ball for an absurd 40:54 of clock time.
And that just didn't leave the Vikings (1-6) enough time to make a game of it.
The Vikings' quarterback carousel returned to Christian Ponder, who made his first start in three games because of Josh Freeman's concussion-like symptoms. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 145 yards.
He led two late scoring drives. But by then the game had been decided. And it wasn't enough to stop the Vikings from losing their third straight game. Not nearly enough on a night when Adrian Peterson (13 carries, 60 yards) was again less than dominant. Still, for all that, the Vikings' biggest problem, again, was its defense.
"I am embarrassed," said Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who was held without a sack. "I have to keep saying it, trying to be as honest as I can. I have never been a part of something like this."
Early on it appeared this game might be interesting, when rookie return man Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 109 yards for a score and a 7-0 Vikings lead; it was the second time this season Patterson had started a game this way.
But the Packers were unfazed. Indeed, with Rodgers nearly perfect, the Packers took the air out of the dome with a 14-play, 74-yard drive that ended with Rodgers' 11-yard touchdown pass to Nelson.
"Tonight was tough," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "To not play better in third-down situations on defense, it hurts you. ... We need to give them some hope and do some things than what we're doing."
The Packers had five scoring drives of nine plays or more. They nearly doubled up the Vikings in yardage.