Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers officially locked down the top seed in the NFC and the first-round playoff bye that comes with it.
The Packers made it into the red zone on all but one of their drives in the first half, but their first four stalled out — resulting in a pair of field goals. It wasn’t until just before halftime that Rodgers found the end zone, hitting Allen Lazard for a perfect 20-yard score in the corner to go up 13-0.
Rodgers mounted a 63-second drive just before halftime, which he capped by hitting Davante Adams for an 11-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 20-0 lead.
— NFL (@NFL) January 3, 2022
The Vikings struggled to get any offense going without quarterback Kirk Cousins, who landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this past week. Backup Sean Mannion — who hadn’t made a start since the 2019 season — led the Vikings to four first downs and 70 total yards in the first half. The bulk of that offense came on their final drive, where Greg Joseph drilled a 51-yard field goal to put the Vikings on the board.
Green Bay scored on its first drive of the second half after a short AJ Dillon touchdown run, which all but put the game out of reach. The Packers cruised to the 27-point win, thanks to another Dillon run in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers finished throwing 29-of-38 for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He had 211 of his passing yards in the first half, a new season-high for the reigning league MVP. Adams finished with 136 receiving yards on 11 catches with his touchdown, and Lazard had 65 yards on five catches with his score. Dillon ended the night with 63 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 touches.
Mannion went 22-of-36 for 189 yards in the loss. He threw his first career touchdown pass at the end of the third quarter after he found K.J. Osborn for a 14-yard score. Mannion was also the Vikings’ leading rusher with 14 yards, one more than Dalvin Cook.
Green Bay's win also clinched playoff berth for the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the Washington Football Team, 20-16, earlier in the day. The Vikings have now been eliminated from the postseason for the second straight year.
If the season ended Monday, the Packers would face the winner of a wild-card matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. If Rodgers can keep things going like he did Sunday night, they’re going to be tough to get past at Lambeau Field come later this month.