Not since the infamous 41-donut NFC Championship game loss to the New York Giants in 2000 – a game that marked the beginning of the end of Dennis Green's tenure as head coach – have the Vikings been shut out. But Brad Childress' 2007 version became the first Vikings team to be shut out in a regular-season game since 1991, and the first Vikings team to be held scoreless in the Vikings-Packers long and storied series history.
The Lambeau letdown saw the Green Bay Packers dominate the Vikings in nearly every facet of the game in a 34-0 drubbing, as the Packers found that the best defense for Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson was to keep him off the field with their own sustained drives against the Vikings' more porous defense.
Quarterback Brett Favre, running back Ryan Grant and the Packers passed right over the Vikings' biggest threat by shredding the defense, both on the ground and through the air. Favre ended with 351 yards passing with three touchdowns, while Grant became the first running back to get 100 yards against the Vikings this year, rushing for 119 yards on 25 attempts.
The domination was balanced, too, as the Green Bay defense shut down Peterson and any passing attempts. The rookie sensation was held to a season-low 45 yards rushing on 11 attempts before a right leg injury took him out of the game in the third quarter, and the Vikings rushed for 86 yards as a team. Brooks Bollinger, getting the start for the recently concussed Tarvaris Jackson, completed 16 of 26 passes for 176 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
The domination started early and didn't let up until a couple of Vikings defenders jogged off the field with 20 seconds remaining following Green Bay's final kneeldown.
When Green Bay stopped Peterson for no gain on the third play of the game, the Packers took over and used a balanced attack to drive it right through the Vikings defense. Favre started the short passing game with connections to tight end Donald Lee for 7 yards and running back Vernand Morency for 6 yards. Grant picked up another first down with 17 yards on two touches, and the third one of the drive with two more touches for 13 yards. But it was a big fourth-down play that kept the Packers alive for a touchdown. Caught in between a very short punt and a very long field goal, Green Bay elected to go for it and Koren Robinson made a diving catch one yard short of the sticks, but he wasn't touched before he got up and dove a yard past the first-down marker. One play later, Grant was sprinting 30 yards for the only touchdown of the first half.
The Vikings committed to rushing Peterson, and over the next three drives, he got loose for runs of 12, 11 and 11 yards, but the Packers generally bottled him up and Bollinger couldn't generate much else. In between, the defense was on the field nearly twice as much as the offense and it showed. In Green Bay's third drive, Grant and Lee were the staples to start, getting the first five touches between them and driving the Packers from their own 10-yard line out to the 43-yard line. But the big play of the drive came when Favre hit Ruvell Martin for 25 yards on third down, putting Green Bay in field goal position. Mason Crosby converted from 39 yards out to give the Packers a 10-0 lead with 6:30 left in the half.
When the Green Bay defense held the Vikings to one or fewer first downs for the fourth consecutive drive, Favre had one last first-half chance and worked with the precision of a wily surgeon. On third-and-7, he connected with Driver for 19 yards, a completion that put him over 60,000 yards for his career. Three plays later, he found Robinson for a 9-yard pass that put the Packers in a similar situation as they had in their first touchdown drive. Robinson was a yard short of the first down, but being at the 35-yard line they elected to go for the first down. Driver delivered with an 8-yard reception, and completions to Martin, Brandon Jackson and Greg Jennings left the Packers at the 7-yard line. While they couldn't punch it into the end zone, Crosby gave them a 13-0 halftime lead with a 24-yard field goal.
The second half started like a mirror of the first half and was almost all Favre. Jennings converted the first third down with a 6-yard reception, and Driver followed with a 12-yard catch near midfield. Grant took it across midfield and surpassed 100 yards rushing for the day on a 7-yard run, but it was Jennings who provided the big play. He outjumped cornerback Cedric Griffin for a bomb and held on despite a blow from safety Darren Sharper on the way down. That 34-yard reception put the Packers on the 7-yard line and another shovel pass to Grant worked it to the 1-yard line. When a solid play-action fake drew the defense, Favre found Lee for the 1-yard touchdown pass for a 20-0 lead with 9:29 to play in the third quarter.
A Peterson fumble and a sack by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila ended the Vikings' first drive of the second half, and it just kept getting worse for the overworked Minnesota defense.
On third-and-5, Favre hit Driver for 24 yards, and on the next play defensive end Kenechi Udeze was flagged for a personal foul on a hit on Favre. After a 13-yard screen pass to Brandon Jackson, the Packers were at the 10-yard line. Three plays later, Martin made it 27-0 with his 8-yard reception.
And it only got worse from there. After a 35-yard pass to Robert Ferguson, an 11-yard screen to Peterson ended with him writhing in pain after taking a shot to the inner part of his right knee, ending his day with 11 carries for 45 yards. Three straight incompletions and a pass for minus-1 yard to Ferguson ended the possession late in the third quarter.
The defense put together their only three-and-out of the game and the offense countered with its most extensive drive of the afternoon. Chester Taylor started with a 9-yard run and shortly thereafter Bollinger was the beneficiary of a roughing call. Bollinger followed that with a 15-yard completion to Bobby Wade, and Taylor broke loose for a 23-yard run to put the Vikings inside the red zone for the first time in the afternoon. But, on first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Bollinger rolled left and let go of a pass that deflected off Mewelde Moore's hands and into those belonging to Charles Woodson to thwart Minnesota's biggest threat.
But the Packers weren't done yet. They sliced through the defense with two passes to Robinson that netted 26 yards, and James Jones followed by beating Griffin for 37 yards down the left sideline. Two plays later, Favre threw to the end zone, intending the pass to go to Martin. As Griffin was set to make the interception, Sharper knocked the ball out of his possession and Martin easily corralled the floating ball as Griffin and Sharper ended up on the turf.
It was the final touchdown in a 34-0 blowout that left the Vikings shaken and stirred on their way to a 3-6 record and their first shutout loss since 41-donut.
All Packed Up
Viking Update Top Stories
Sizing up the competitionThe Vikings will face some difficult challenges in 2017. These are the strengths and weaknesses that their opponents will bring to the table.
Viking Update5:29 AM
Sunday slant: Breakout Vikings for defenseThis week’s draft will help shape the roster, but no matter who is added to the mix, some veteran players on the roster right now have every chance to earn a significant (maybe…
Viking Update5:15 AM
Vikings visitor analysis: The versatile TEThe Minnesota Vikings are in search of a tight end to add depth and they visited with one that was very impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine and showed versatility in college.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 6:13 AM
Most feared player for each Vikings opponentWith the Minnesota Vikings’ schedule out, we break down the key player for each opponent that will be key to each game plan.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:43 AM