Vikings record first shutout in 24 years with 16-0 blanking at Green Bay
GREEN BAY, Wis. — It was 10 degrees at kickoff, but the Vikings persevered Saturday night, Dec. 23, in what they hope was their last outdoor game of the season.
The Vikings registered their first shutout in 23 years with a 16-0 win over punchless Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer has said he wants to play all playoff games at home, and that could include Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings (12-3) will need to win their finale and have Philadephia (12-2) lose its final two games to get the top seed in the NFC, but there still could be a possibility of the Eagles losing in the divisional playoff round and Minnesota hosting the NFC championship game.
Minnesota would clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye if Carolina (10-4) loses Sunday at home to Tampa Bay.
The Vikings got all the scoring they needed on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs late in the first quarter and field goals by Kai Forbath of 49 yards in the first quarter, 20 yards in the third quarter and 27 in the fourth.
Minnesota registered its first shutout since winning 13-0 at Detroit on Dec. 5, 1993. The Vikings held the Packers (7-8) to 239 yards of total offense, but plenty of that had to do with Brent Hundley being ineffective at quarterback in relief of Aaron Rodgers.
Hundley completed just 17 of 39 passes for 130 yards and threw two interceptions. He was playing after the Packers had put Rodgers on injured reserve earlier in the week following his one-game return from a broken collarbone.
Rodgers suffered the injury on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr on Oct. 15 at U.S. Bank Stadium, and missed seven games. Barr was not penalized or fined for the hit, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy had called it an "illegal act.''
Barr was expecting a hostile reception Saturday, but there were no apparent incidents on the field involving the linebacker.
Rodgers returned for last Sunday's 31-24 loss at Carolina, but was shelved for the season after the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs.
The Packers played like a team that had nothing on the line. Hundley was the victim of several dropped passes. Green Bay did drive to the Minnesota 15 late in the first half, but Hundley was picked off by Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Smith also picked Hundley with two minutes left in the game.
Keenum completed 14 of 25 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown. Stefon Diggs led all receivers with five catches for 60 yards.
Latavius Murray led Minnesota's ground attack with 21 rushes for 69 yards.
The Vikings got back left tackle Riley Reiff after he had missed a game with an ankle injury, but they lost three players on Saturday due to injury. Late in the first quarter, left guard Nick Easton was knocked out with an ankle injury.
Also in the first half, the Vikings lost backup nose tackle Shamar Stephen due to an ankle injury and long snapper Kevin McDermott with a shoulder injury. Backup tight end David Morgan replaced McDermott in the second half, successfully making two punt snaps on a punt and two on successful field-goal attempts.
The Packers came in without injured starting linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry and top wide receiver Davante Adams. They lost several key players because of injury during the game, including right tackle Jason Spriggs, wide receiver Jordy Nelson (shoulder) and running back Aaron Jones (knee). Spriggs was hurt on the first series of the game and taken off on a cart.
The Vikings close the regular season next Sunday against Chicago at U.S. Bank Stadium. Unless the Panthers fall to the Buccaneers, the game will have some meaning for seeding.