It was the Chicago Bears who were naughty and the Vikings who were nice this holiday season.
Not only did the Packers gift-wrap a spot in wild-card weekend, Adrian Peterson and his 199 yards (a mere nine yards short of the single-season record) was most likely enough to give him the 2012 MVP Award.
What It Means: No matter what way you look at it, this was not a beneficial loss for the Packers. They gave up the number two seed and first-round bye to the NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay will have to travel to San Francisco if they’re lucky enough to get past the same Vikings team who just beat them. If the Packers expect to win at Lambeau, they will need to find a way to stop Peterson who has absolutely owned the Packers this season. To make matters worse, Christian Ponder had himself a game with three touchdown passes. After a rather slow start, Aaron Rodgers was spectacular with 365 yards and four touchdowns.
Player of the Game: WR Greg Jennings (8 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns)
Jennings may not be back next season, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s the best receiver on the roster. It was his best game in an injury-riddled season by far. His ability to make defenders miss in the open field is an asset the Packers cannot be without right now.
Highlight of the Game: Facing a 2nd-and-18 early in the third quarter, Jennings took a quick pass from Rodgers and turned it into a 45 yard gain to the Vikings’ eight yard line. Jennings would follow that up with his second touchdown catch of the day to help the Packers make it a back-and-forth game in the second half.
Stat of the Game (409): The amount of yards the Vikings Peterson has racked up on 55 carries against Green Bay this season. That’s good enough for an insane 7.44 yards per carry. The Packers’ chances are really limited if they can’t stop this guy.
What’s Next: The idea was thrown out there last week, but seemed highly unlikely after the 49ers were handled by the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night. Nonetheless, here we are with the Vikings heading to Green Bay with all of the momentum and a chance to knock off the NFC North champs in the playoffs.
What did you think of the Packers loss to the Vikings? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures obtained from Packers.com.