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End of an era? Packers eliminate Vikings from playoff contention

The 37-10 loss may be the end for Mike Zimmer.
Mike Zimmer

With their playoff hopes on the line, the Minnesota Vikings were embarrassed by the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, eating a 37-10 loss that eliminated them from contention.

The game turned out exactly how Viking fans feared after Friday's news that Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19. With Cousins sidelined, Sean Mannion stepped in and couldn't get any traction thanks to another week of questionable playcalling.

Mannion targeted C.J. Ham on a 4th-and-1 early in the game and wound up targeting Tyler Conklin a team-high six times in the first half. With the Packers providing a dreaded two-high safety look, the Vikings struggled to generate 70 yards of total offense before halftime.

While the Vikings were punchless on offense, they hung with the Packers early in the game, holding Green Bay to two early field goals. But Aaron Rodgers eventually found a groove, tossing touchdowns to Allen Lazard and Davante Adams to build a 20-0 lead.

Minnesota had their best drive of the night before halftime to set up a 51-yard field goal by Greg Joseph but the second half brought more of the same.

Mannion threw his first career touchdown to K.J. Osborn but managed just 151 yards. Garrett Bradbury, an offensive lineman, had the Vikings' longest reception on the night until deep into the fourth quarter. The Vikings finished the night averaging 5.4 yards per pass attempt.

Even a late-game appearance from Kellen Mond couldn't ease the pain of Vikings fans as the final score didn't seem indicative of their performance.

All of this happened while AJ Dillon gored a defense that spent most of its offseason budget on stopping the run. The Packers running back scored a pair of second-half touchdowns and helped Green Bay roll to the top seed in the NFC.

The picture is less clear for the Vikings. Reports surfaced on Sunday morning that ownership was undecided on the fate of Mike Zimmer. The report also said that a playoff appearance would help build for the Vikings to keep their head coach.

With the Vikings missing the playoffs for the fifth time in eight seasons under Zimmer, the Wilfs have a decision to make. Minnesota will close out the season by hosting the Bears next Sunday.

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