When you are a 1-5 football team, you seek any positives to grasp on to. Those closest to the Minnesota Vikings, who are in hope selling mode would tell you that because the week eight opponent is the Green Bay Packers that somehow, the team was going to erase all of their issues and give them a game and maybe, just maybe do the impossible.
That would be a big fat no to either.
As "go Pack go" chants echoed through Mall of America Field, the Packers toyed with the Vikings and set the record for the most points scored by the Packers against the purple in their 44-31 win. The defense couldn't get off the field on third down as Green Bay converted 13 of 18 third downs and in two of the five cases they didn't convert they went for it on fourth down and converted those into first downs.
"I don't know how many times I can say that third down is the issue," said head coach Leslie Frazier. "If we can get some third down stops and make that percentage a whole lot better than it was tonight, I think that will definitely improve our defense."
The Vikings got a huge boost early in the game as Cordarrelle Patterson electrified the crowd with a NFL record 109 yard kick-off return for a touchdown. The Vikings defense couldn't hold up their end of the bargain as they watched the Packers work their way down field scoring on a 14 play 90 yard drive that finished with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson who finished with 7 receptions for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The defense couldn't get off the field, but they also struggled with tackling and in the process allowed the Packers offense to generate 464 yards total offense in the loss.
"I am embarrassed," said Jared Allen. "I have to keep saying it. Trying to be as honest as I can. I have never been a part of something like this."
Unlike their opponents, the Vikings offense couldn't stay on the field. The time of possession tilted big in the way of the Packers as they held the ball for over 40 minutes to the Vikings 19:06 and didn't pick up a first down in the second half until the game was decided in the fourth quarter. With the Packers comfortably ahead, the Vikings scored a pair of late fourth quarter touchdowns to make the score closer than it actually was.
The Packers owned the ground game as well as rookie Eddie Lacy bested the reigning MVP Adrian Peterson. Lacy carried 29 times for 94 yards and scored while Peterson found the end zone but carried 13 times for 60 yards.
With the loss, the Vikings drop to 1-6 and will travel to Dallas next week to face a Cowboys team that is putting up a ton of yards and points. The Packers are 5-2 and alone on top of the NFC North.