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Vikings win thriller to topple Packers

Greg Joseph's game-winner helped the Vikings get back to .500.

The Minnesota Vikings have had issues closing out games this year and until last week, they couldn't find an answer. But after Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers, the offense found a simple formula to survive.

Get Justin Jefferson the ball.

The star receiver exploded against the Packers, putting up 169 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings earned a 34-31 victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Both teams opened the game by exchanging field goals but the first quarter belonged to Jefferson. Jefferson racked up 104 yards in the first quarter including a 56-yard reception that set up a Dalvin Cook touchdown.

With the Vikings in front, Kirk Cousins continued to pile it on, going 9-for-12 for 162 yards in the first half and a touchdown to Adam Thielen to put Minnesota ahead 16-3.

But the second quarter followed a familiar script. After the Vikings got a stop, they faced a 3rd and 1. When a toss to C.J. Ham came up short of the sticks, the Packers received a new life and took advantage with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Josiah Deguara.

Coming out of halftime with a 16-10 lead, the Vikings went back to what they know, running the ball eight times on the way to a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson.

But the Packers responded thanks to Davante Adams. With a pair of touchdown grabs, Adams snagged his 12th career touchdown against the Vikings, the most of any opponent in franchise history. The scores put Green Bay ahead 24-23 but gave the Vikings a chance to respond.

Minnesota executed a 12-play drive that took 5:32 off the clock and just when it looked like they would have to rely on a Greg Joseph field goal, Cousins connected with Jefferson for a 23-yard touchdown. 

After a two-point conversion run by Cook, the Vikings had a 31-24 advantage but the Packers responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Marquez Valdez-Scantling.

With a chance to win the game, Cousins appeared to throw an interception before the two-minute warning but it was overturned. That allowed the Vikings to drive inside the 10 and allowed Joseph to kick a 29-yard field goal to give Minnesota the 34-31 victory.

Now at 5-5, the Vikings are in the thick of the NFC playoff picture as they head to San Francisco next week

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