Packers finish off Vikings 38-25, inch closer to playoffs

GREEN BAY | For a few moments Lambeau Field went deadly silent. Aaron Rodgers was sandwiched and sacked in the third quarter by two Vikings defenders and lay motionless on the turf. After getting up on his own power and being checked by seemingly every athletic trainer in Brown County, Rodgers was given the “OK” to come back in the game with the Packers leading the Vikings 28-13 in the 3rd quarter. He continued to be his magnificent self.

Rodgers threw a 13-yard touchdown strike to tight end Richard Rodgers to put Green Bay up 38-13 with 9:02 to go in the 4th quarter.  It was Aaron Rodgers 5th touchdown of the game (4 throwing, one running). After that score, Rodgers was 28-38 for 347 yards passing, 4 touchdowns, no interceptions, one rushing touchdown, and a 136.6 passer rating. It’s the first time the Vikings defense has given up 300+ yards to a quarterback this season.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby booted a 48-yard field goal to start the 4th quarter to give Green Bay a 31-13 lead.

With the clock winding down, the Vikings drove down the field and converted on a third-and-goal play to Stefon Diggs for a short touchdown. Minnesota then missed the extra point, but closed the gap to 38-19.

Brett Hundley replaced Aaron Rodgers late in the fourth quarter and the defense allowed a garbage-time touchdown, but the Packers held on to win the game 38-25. It moves Green Bay to 9-6 on the season and one win away from an eighth consecutive playoff appearance.

After his first half performance it’s safe to say Rodgers is very much back in the MVP discussion. He was 19-22 for 268 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions heading into the locker room. Rodgers also added a rushing touchdown just before the half with the Packers leading 28-13. Rodgers finished the first half with a 157.0 passer rating.

With the Vikings driving at mid-field and just over a minute to go in the half, Clay Matthews forced a fumble and Rodgers went to work connecting with Geronimo Allison for 32 yards. Rodgers capped off the drive with a six yard touchdown scamper.

Earlier in the second quarter, Vikings center Nick Easton fumbled the snap. Green Bay’s Kenny Clark recovered. Once again Aaron Rodgers made Minnesota pay throwing a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. It was the second time that Rodgers and Nelson connected for a touchdown today. The two-yard strike put the Packers up 21-6 midway through the 2nd quarter. The Vikings came back with a 71-yard touchdown from Sam Bradford to Adam Thielen to make it 21-13.

In the first quarter Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson for a 21-yard score. Rodgers also threw a 20-yard touchdown to Davante Adams in the first.

The second touchdown to Nelson gave Rodgers 35 touchdown passes in a season for the 4th time in his career to set a new franchise record. He was tied with Brett Favre.

Rodgers and Jordy Nelson also came into the day tied with Favre and Antonio Freeman with the most touchdowns by a QB-WR duo in Packers history. Rodgers and Nelson now have a new Packers record with 59 touchdowns together.

With the loss the Vikings will be elimiated from the playoffs. The Packers won’t clinch a playoff spot but are in very good shape. Green Bay can win the NFL North division championship with a win at Detroit on January 1st. Green Bay is going for its 5th straight win today. Overall it’s been a beautiful day with temps in the upper 30’s at Lambeau.

Three to be inducted into Packers HOF

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Nick Collins, Chad Clifton, and Russ Winnie will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Saturday night inside the Lambeau Field Atrium.

The 46th annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet features former second-round draft selections Collins and Clifton, who become the first alumni from the 2010 Super Bowl season to go into the Hall.

With a combined five Pro Bowl appearances and 19 NFL seasons with the Packers, both Collins and Clifton had valuable roles in bringing the latest championship to TItletown, most notably Collins’ first quarter interception for a touchdown.

Winnie joins Collins and Clifton in the Packers Hall of Fame after spending 18 years in the broadcast booth, covering the team’s first six NFL championships.

The induction dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Rodgers provided advice to 2016 opponent

JACKSONVILLE — A developing Blake Bortles led the NFL with 18 interceptions, so he recently sought help from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

A Bortles-led Jacksonville Jaguars squad went 5-and-11 in 2015 behind a franchise-record 35 touchdowns, but Bortles wanted help maturing. That’s when the Florida Times-Union says he looked to Aaron Rodgers and current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer for advice.

Rodgers’ advice for the 2014 first-round draft pick was “don’t try and score 21 points every time you have the ball.”

Rodgers and Bortles will square off  at EverBank Field to open the 2016 NFL season Sept. 11 for a noon kickoff. The last time the Packers and Jaguars met was in 2012, with the Packers winning 24-15 at Lambeau Field.  Rodgers topped Blaine Gabbert with 186 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Bortles counts for over $5.6 million towards the cap space and he’d like to limit turnovers in order to reward Jacksonville’s ownership. His 35 passing touchdowns ranked second in the NFL last season.

Sporting News predicts heartbreaking year for Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Sporting News gave its predictions for this year’s NFL playoffs, selecting the Packers to lose to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.

The Packers have had their share of disappointments against the Seahawks, but this latest prediction could be a tough one to swallow after losing the last three times at CenturyLink Field. That includes the 2014 NFC Championship game in which Green Bay had a late collapse and lost 28-22.

Green Bay got its revenge in a 6-0 start to the 2015 season, beating Seattle at Lambeau Field 27-17 last September.

Heading into the 2016 season, the Packers have the easiest schedule, when accounting for their opponents’ combined 2015 records (117-139 or a .457 winning percentage). Green Bay also has one of the most convenient travel schedules this season, going no further west than its week two meeting with Minnesota.