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Vikings ride strong second half to victory over rival Packers

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Harrison Barden / USA TODAY Sports1 / 2
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs with the ball as Minnesota Vikings' Sheldon Richardson (93) chases in the first quarter during their game Sunday night, Nov. 25, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Dan Powers via USA TODAY NETWORK2 / 2

MINNEAPOLIS — After Aaron Rodgers marched down the field to give the Green Bay Packers consecutive touchdowns and a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, it looked like it might be a long night for the Minnesota Vikings.

Instead, the defense clamped down and the offense scored 17 consecutive points to give Minnesota a 24-17 win Sunday, Nov. 25, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Kirk Cousins shined in the nationally televised game after wilting a week before at Chicago. The quarterback completed 29 of 38 passes for 342 yards with no interceptions and three touchdowns.

“It shows his character and what kind of player he is … (to) not care what happened last week and to go out there and play some really good football,” said receiver Adam Thielen.

Thielen continued his dominance of the Green Bay secondary. After notching 131 yards in Week 2 against the Packers, he followed up with a team-high 125 yards Sunday.

Stefon Diggs (eight catches, 77 yards) and Kyle Rudolph (seven catches, 63 yards) were also heavily involved in the passing attack.

“We took what the defense gave us,” Thielen said. “I think that’s what Kirk is so good at doing. When we do get an opportunity to throw it deep, he’s going to, and he’ll give us a chance.”

However, it was a short pass to running back Dalvin Cook for Cousins’ first touchdown pass of the day. Cook took a swing pass 26 yards to draw the score even at 7-7 late in the first quarter. It was Cook’s first touchdown reception of his career.

After Green Bay drove down the field to retake the lead on an Aaron Jones run, Minnesota added a Dan Bailey field goal and touchdown catches from Diggs and Thielen to open up a 24-14 lead.

The Packers forced a turnover on downs at their own 7 yard line with just under five minutes left in the game, but a dropped pass by Davante Adams in the end zone meant settling for a Mason Crosby field goal.

It was just one of many frustrating moments for Rodgers, who was held to 198 yards and one touchdown.

“The difference is in the details, and I think there are just a few plays when we’re just not as detailed about our assignment at times,” Rodgers said.

But Green Bay would not get another chance, with Cook and Latavius Murray carrying the ball to eat up the remaining time.

“That was big to take (the time off the clock),” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. “When (Rodgers) doesn’t have the ball, you have a really good chance to win.”

The strong passing attack continued a seasonlong trend for Minnesota. Cousins now the team record for passing yards in the first 11 games of the season, while Thielen has the same distinction for receptions and receiving yardage.

The loss for the Packers (4-6-1) all but eliminates the team from playoff contention, while Minnesota (6-4-1) remains in the hunt for either the NFC North title or a wild card berth.

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Robb Jeffries

Robb Jeffries is a news coordinator for Forum News Service. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and previously served as a reporter and copy editor for the Grand Forks Herald. Reach him at rjeffries@forumcomm.com and follow him on Twitter at @robbjeffries.

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