Jordan Love, Packers roll over Vikings to keep playoff hopes alive

The Packers had no issue beating the Vikings 33-10 on Sunday night

Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers had no issue whatsoever on Sunday night in Minneapolis.

Now, they hold a potential playoff berth in their hands.

Love and the Packers rolled to a dominant 33-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night to close out Week 17 of the season. The win kept Green Bay’s playoff hopes alive headed into next week’s finale in Wisconsin, where the Packers have to beat the Chicago Bears (7-9) to make it in.

The Packers got the jump Sunday night, and took advantage of an early mistake from rookie quarterback Jaren Hall, who the Vikings started in place of Nick Mullens this past week. Hall, after going three-and-out on the opening drive, was picked off on his second pass attempt of the game. That set up a perfectly thrown 33-yard touchdown from Jordan Love to Jayden Reed, and gave the Packers an early 10-0 lead.

Then, after holding the Vikings to a field goal, Love completed a diving two-yard touchdown run to give Green Bay a 17-3 lead just before halftime.

The Packers scored once more before halftime after Preston Smith forced a fumble in the final minute of the second quarter. Love hit Reed again in the middle of the field, and Reed broke up the left sideline and forced his way into the end zone for his second score of the game. That gave Green Bay a 23-3 lead at halftime.

Love went 14-of-21 for 180 yards and had three total touchdowns in the first half.

The Vikings benched Hall for Mullens in the second half, though Mullens wasn’t much better. He did lead the Vikings into the red zone on his opening drive of the third quarter, but the Packers stopped them on fourth down and took over.

Love then mounted an eight-minute drive and hit a wide-open Bo Melton in the end zone, which put the Packers up 30-3. From there, the Vikings were way too far out of it. Green Bay (8-8) held on to grab the 23-point win, which brought them back to .500 on the season.

Mullens went 13-of-22 for 113 yards and had a touchdown in the second half. Ty Chandler had 40 rushing yards on 10 carries, and Justin Jefferson led the Vikings with 46 yards on three catches. The Vikings’ lone touchdown of the night came after Najee Thompson recovered a botched punt return to start the fourth quarter, which set up a six-yard score to Johnny Mundt.

Love finished throwing 24-of-33 for 256 yards with three touchdowns. Aaron Jones had 120 rushing yards on 20 carries, and Melton had 105 yards on six catches. Reed had 89 receiving yards with his two touchdowns, but he was ruled out in the second half with a chest injury.

Packers need to beat Bears

Though the Detroit Lions have already won the NFC North, the Packers’ playoff hopes are still alive after Sunday night’s win. They now have to beat just the Bears next weekend at Lambeau Field to earn a wild-card spot, which would bring them back into the postseason for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

The Vikings weren’t eliminated from playoff contention, but their path to the postseason won’t be easy. They’ll have to beat the Lions (11-5), and have the Packers and Seahawks lose, and have either the Buccaneers or Saints lose, too.

Jordan Love and the Packers rolled over the Vikings on Sunday night in Minneapolis.
Jordan Love and the Packers blew out the Vikings 33-10 on Sunday night in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Bears have been eliminated from the playoffs. They are, however, on a bit of a hot streak. The Bears have won four of their past five games, and are fresh off a dominant 37-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The only loss in that stretch was to the Cleveland Browns, where they blew a 10-point second-half lead and fell by three points after nearly converting on a Hail Mary.

The Packers will enter that contest in Green Bay on a two-game win streak. While last week’s three-point win over the lowly Carolina Panthers likely didn’t do much to reassure fans, Sunday night’s dominant showing should certainly help. If the Packers lose, that opens the door for either the Seahawks or Saints to sneak into the postseason.

Regardless, the Packers did what they needed to. They won't have to rely on anybody else.