GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (AP) — The Green Bay Packers continued their improbable playoff push on Sunday as they defeated Justin Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings 41-17 as Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to score. .
Keesian Nixon scores on a 105-yard kickoff return When Darnell Savage had Kirk Cousins’ pick 6 for 75 yards — One of four turnovers by a Vikings QB — to help Green Bay build a 27-3 halftime lead. Aaron Jones rushed for his 111 yards on his 14 carries and AJ Dillon made his run for a 2-yard touchdown as the Packers won his fourth straight.
Green Bay (8-8) advances to the playoffs if they beat division rival Detroit at home in the regular season finale. After falling to 4-8 in 1-7 overtime, the Packers looked out of the question for a fourth straight postseason berth, but they haven’t lost since and have benefited from good performances throughout the league.
Green Bay’s latest fortune came early on Sunday when Washington lost 24-10 at home to Cleveland and the Packers controlled their postseason fortunes.
The Packers then handled business by making life miserable for Cousins and Jefferson, the NFL’s leading receiver who was robbed for 15 yards on one catch. Jefferson had nine receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener in a 23–7 win over the Packers.
Savage, Adrian Amos and Rudy Ford each intercepted Cousins’ passes and Kenny Clarke recovered a fumble with a strip sack. The Packers converted each of Cousins’ turnovers into touchdowns.
Cousins went 18-of-31 for 205 yards for the NFC North champion Vikings (12-4). His only touchdown his pass was garbage his time. His 47-yard pass to Jalen Naylor made Green Bay’s lead 41–10 for him.
The Vikings’ Dalvin Cook was held to 27 yards on nine carries.
Rodgers went 15-of-24 for 159 yards on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Robert Toyan. Rodgers also scored Green Bay’s final touchdown on a 2-yard scramble.
The Packers scored the next 41 points after Josh Metellus’ blocked punt gave Minnesota their first goal at 1 and the Vikings took a 3–0 lead.
That explosion started with the Nixon and Savage heavyweights. This was the first time the Packers scored in the same game on his return kickoff and interception since his 31-23 victory over the Cardinals on October 30, 1967. did.
Nixon’s touchdown was the Packers’ first kickoff return since Randall Cobb ran a franchise-record 108 yards against New Orleans in 2011. His groin injury kept him from practicing most of the week.
Green Bay also got a solid game from veteran kicker Mason Crosby. He made his 2-for-2 on his goal attempt on the field. This included a 56-yarder before bouncing off the crossbar to close out the first half.
The Vikings lost two of their starting offensive linemen to calf injuries in the first quarter. Schrottmann started in place of Garrett Bradbury, who missed four straight games with a back injury.
Chris Reid, who hadn’t played an offensive snap all season, replaced Schrottmann at center. Orisameka Udoh fills with a right tackle.
The Vikings will be visiting Chicago, while the Packers will host the Lions next weekend.
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