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Vikings stun Packers in season-opening win, 23-7

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Border battle: Vikings, Packers fans travel to Minneapolis for big season opener
Border battle: Vikings, Packers fans travel to Minneapolis for big season opener 01:52

Jefferson, Vikings beat Packers 23-7 for O'Connell's 1st win

Justin Jefferson started his third season with Minnesota by smashing rival Green Bay for 184 receiving yards and two touchdowns, giving new Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell a 23-7 victory over the Packers in his first game on Sunday.

After accumulating the most receiving yards (3,016) in a player's first two years in the NFL, Jefferson set an all-time Vikings receiving record with 158 yards in the first half against a stacked Packers defense.

Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 32 passes for 277 yards without a turnover, targeting Jefferson on more than a third of his throws and keeping the Packers on their heels for most of the afternoon.

Aaron Rodgers' first game without Davante Adams was a struggle, and the three-time defending NFC North champion Packers fell flat in their opener for the second straight season. Last year, they deftly rebounded from a 38-3 defeat by New Orleans, but a repeat will require some new wide receivers to quickly emerge in rhythm with Rodgers.

The Packers are going to need a healthy offensive line for once, too, after they played most of the second half with three backups.

Jefferson rewarded O'Connell for his first critical in-game decision by catching a 4-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-1 to punctuate the first possession. When Adam Thielen ran a slant, cornerback Eric Stokes and safety Adrian Amos both turned inside — leaving Jefferson wide open in the flat after he came in motion across the formation.

Jefferson had a 36-yard reception for a score in the final minute of the first half to give the Vikings a 17-0 lead. He came close to a third touchdown on the previous drive, too, but his diving catch at the edge of the end zone was a bit too far for him to drop both feet down.

That drive yielded the first of two field goals by Greg Joseph — who later made a career-long 56-yarder — and was set up by a 64-yard gain by Jefferson on a burst between Amos and fellow safety Darnell Savage to grab the heave from Cousins. The "MVP" chants from the fired-up crowd in Minnesota came soon after for Jefferson.

Allen Lazard, the leading returning receiver this year for Green Bay, didn't play because of an ankle injury. Starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins were also inactive.

Sporting a fresh haircut after a summer of personal rejuvenation, Rodgers returned to an offensive cast that needs plenty of work — the running back duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon aside. Rodgers went 22 for 34 for 195 yards.

Second-round draft pick Christian Watson, who was taken after the Packers traded up with the Vikings for the No. 34 overall selection, juked past 12-year veteran Patrick Peterson on the first snap for the Packers and let what would've been a 75-yard touchdown pass slip through his hands.


Rodgers and coach Matt LaFleur — the winningest coach in NFL history through his first three seasons — showed plenty of frustration on the sideline. The defense did, too.

Rodgers even had his NFL-record streak against division opponents of 38 touchdown passes without an interception stopped near the end of the second quarter when his see-what-happens heave was picked off by Harrison Smith. The last one was snagged by Detroit's Amani Oruwariye on Dec. 29, 2019.


O'Connell brought a fresh start to the Vikings both in strategy and culture, while the revamped front office under rookie general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah largely kept the roster in tact. One exception was the addition of outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith, who was released by the Packers in a cost-cutting move this spring.

Smith had one of Minnesota's four sacks. Jordan Hicks had another one that forced Rodgers to lose a fumble on the first possession of the second half.


Packers: LG Jon Runyan entered the concussion protocol in the third quarter and was replaced by rookie Zach Tom. ... Rookie LB Quay Walker — the team's first round draft pick — departed with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter along with backup CB Keisean Nixon. ... Backup LB Krys Barnes, who replaced Walker, hurt his ankle and left on a cart in the fourth quarter.

Vikings: Rookie CB Andrew Booth Jr. hurt his quadriceps and was announced in the second quarter as doubtful to return.

By The Associated Press

2 minutes remain; Vikes still have 16-point lead

An interesting observation:

By WCCO Staff

Jefferson does it again

Justin Jefferson does it again, with his latest diving catch bringing him up to a career-high 184 receiving yards. At this point, he's clearly a main driving factor in the Vikings' performance today.

Following another drive that brought the team within goal on a first down, the Vikings end up settling for another field goal, bringing a two-possession distance between themselves and the Packers, 23-7.

By WCCO Staff

At end of 3Q, it's still Vikes up 20-7

The Packers finally got into the game in the second half, but the Vikings maintain control of the game going into the last quarter.

The team also reported that Dantzler was likely to return.

By WCCO Staff

Another FG for the Vikes, before Packers finally get on the board

The score went to 20-0 about halfway through the third quarter, following Greg Joseph's 56-yard kick.

However, Cameron Dantzler walked off the field with medical staff after an Aaron Jones run. Status remains to be determined.

And then, at the end of that run, the Packers finally got on the board with a hard-fought TD, bringing the score to 20-7.

By WCCO Staff

At the half, Vikings have the upper hand

The skinny from CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin:

Here's the lowdown: the Vikings have been ultra-efficient and explosive on offense under Kevin O'Connell. Kirk Cousins has been almost flawless feeding Justin Jefferson, who's been wide open on almost all of his big plays. Their defense, meanwhile, save for an early blown coverage that the Packers couldn't capitalize on, has executed soundly with plenty of physicality. The front has forced Aaron Rodgers to move from the pocket, and the back end helped lead a goal-line stand. Green Bay, meanwhile, has yet to find any rhythm offensively. Rodgers is trying to spread the ball around, but mostly because no one is proving too reliable in either their routes, spacing or catching.

Meanwhile, even T-Pain is impressed with Justin Jefferson's performance:

By WCCO Staff

Justin Jefferson can't be stopped

With 0:33 left in the half, Justin Jefferson scores another TD. It's looking like Aaron Rodgers' terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is getting even worse. 17-0, Vikings.

By WCCO Staff

Vikings settle for FG, 10-0

As Cody Benjamin with CBS Sports says it, "A-Rod himself was probably most at fault for the last pass on the Packers' three-and-out, firing high at Aaron Jones. But it's clear he just doesn't trust any downfield targets at this point."

By Ren Clayton

Andrew Booth Jr. out with quad injury

And, following their best drive of the game thus far, on the 1-yard line on fourth down, the Packers were denied their first touchdown of the game.

By WCCO Staff

Za'Darius Smith gets a sack on A-Rod

In what was one of the more popular moments of the first quarter, former Packer Za'Darius Smith managed a sack on current Packer QB Aaron Rodgers. The mood in the stadium was, reportedly, jubliant.

As reported by CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin: "This game may well be an exercise in patience for Aaron Rodgers. Old friend Za'Darius Smith gets the sack to end Green Bay's second straight drive without points, one series after rookie Christian Watson blew past Patrick Peterson for a would-be deep-ball score but just dropped the pass, drawing an unamused look from A-Rod."

At the end of the first quarter, the score remained 7-0 in favor of the Vikings.

By WCCO Staff

Vikings draw first blood, 7-0

And the Vikings are the first team on the board; it's 7-0 with 9:17 left in the first quarter.

And then ...

By Norman Seawright III

Vikings' first-round pick S Lewis Cine out Sunday, S Myles Dorn elevated

The Minnesota Vikings' newest first-round pick won't take the field Sunday. 

Safety Lewis Cine is out for the border battle matchup against the Green Bay Packers after reportedly aggravating a knee issue this week. 

Vikings Training Camp
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) warms up at the NFL football team's practice facility in Eagan, Minn., Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Stacy Bengs / AP

The Vikings announced Saturday that safety Myles Dorn has been elevated to the active roster. 

Other inactives include running back Ty Chandler, outside linebacker Luiji Vilain, guard/center Chris Reed, defensive lineman Esezi Otemewo and tackle Vederian Lowe.

Meanwhile, the Packers are dealing with some significant injuries. The team is expected to be without left tackle David Bakhtiari, right tackle Elgton Jenkins, and wide receiver Allen Lazard. 

Both Bakhtiari and Jenkins have been recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in their left knee and were brought along slowly during training camp. They practiced on a limited basis this week and were listed as questionable to play the Vikings, but their return will have to wait at least another game.

The two-time All-Pro Bakhtiari has appeared in just one game since the original injury in practice on Dec. 31, 2020. Yosh Nijman took his place at left tackle. Jenkins, a 2020 Pro Bowl pick who hurt his knee last Nov. 21 at Minnesota, was replaced at right tackle by right guard Royce Newman. Jake Hanson took Newman's spot.

Lazard was listed as doubtful with an ankle injury he suffered in practice last week. He's the leading returning receiver for the Packers with 40 receptions for 513 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021. Rookie Romeo Doubs replaced him in the starting lineup.

By WCCO Staff

Let's Skol: Vikings fans tailgate outside U.S. Bank Stadium ahead of border battle clash

Border battle: Vikings, Packers fans travel to Minneapolis for big season opener 01:52

The Minnesota Vikings are just hours away from kicking off their 2022 season against the rival Green Bay Packers.

It's a Sunday afternoon matchup set to draw tens of thousands of people to downtown Minneapolis.

WCCO's Adam Duxter caught up with some fans tailgating outside U.S. Bank Stadium. 

By Adam Duxter
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