The Packers had the two-seed on their minds Sunday in Minnesota, but instead will have to get ready to now host a Vikings team that in the end, were one drive better.
That’s the mindset of the Pack as they head home Sunday night, losers 37-34 to the Vikings on a final play Blair Walsh field goal after allowing a long run by Adrian Peterson to set it up.
The Pack still are the NFC North Division Champs, but fall to 11-5 and to the NFC No. 3 seed. Their five-game winning streak against the Vikings ended.
Aaron Rodgers played a whale of a game, going 28 of 40 for 365 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions, connecting with Jordy Nelson from 2 yards to tie the game with 2:54 remaining.
”It’s disappointing. A lot of us wanted that extra week,” Rodgers said.
They won’t get it, and now have to get ready for Peterson, who was looking to make history Sunday.
Peterson finished 9 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, but he still powered the Vikings with 199 yards to set up a rematch at Lambeau Field in a first-round playoff game.
”I told myself to come into this game focused on one thing, and that’s winning,” Peterson said.
The NFC North was sewn up by the Packers two weeks earlier. Even though the bye remained in the balance the top seed didn’t do the Packers any good last season. They went 15-1 and lost their opener at home to the eventual champion Giants.
Rodgers played without injured leading receiver Randall Cobb, so Greg Jennings was the main guy, grabbing eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. But the Vikings sacked Rodgers five times, recovering a fumble on one of them at midfield to set up a third-quarter touchdown.
Rodgers has 24 touchdowns, only four interceptions and a 70 percent completion rate over 10 career starts against the Vikings. His poise, arm strength and savvy came through clear against them as much as any other team. Plus, cornerback Antoine Winfield‘s aggravated hand injury kept him on the sideline for most of the game.
No matter the excuses and the injuries, the postseason starts now – and the Packers have to get ready for the Vikings – again.