Packers 37, Vikings 10: 2-minute drill

Green Bay clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC, homefield advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs Sunday night with a 37-10 win over Minnesota at a frigid Lambeau Field.

Game Balls

Offense: The running game

Aaron Rodgers and the pass game did its job, but the offensive line and Green Bay’s running backs are the choice after taking it to Vikings up front. As a team the Packers averaged 5.4 yards per carry and ran for 174 yards, which marked a season high.

AJ Dillon did much of the dirty work up the middle, carrying 14 times for 63 yards. He showed off the power that comes with weighing 251 pounds on his two touchdown runs, especially the second in which he ran through at least three Minnesota tacklers.

Dillon’s backfield mate, Aaron Jones, ran for 76 yards on just eight carries. He added five catches for another 30 yards.

This was the type of scenario GM Brian Gutekunst and the team envisioned when they took Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. When the weather turns cold and the footing at Lambeau Field gets a little more dicey in December and January, they have someone they can count on to get them the difficult yards and move a pile. With Green Bay clinching homefield advantage for the playoffs, it is likely they will find themselves in a similar situation in the next month.

Defense: Front seven

The last time the Packers saw Dalvin Cook at Lambeau Field he torched them for 163 yards and three touchdowns. There would not be a repeat of that effort Sunday night as Green Bay held the three-time Pro Bowl selection to just 13 yards on nine carries. It was the second-fewest yards he has had in his career and Minnesota’s 27 total rushing yards were the fewest the Packers had allowed since giving up 16 to Tampa Bay in 2014.

Defensive tackle Kenny Clark dominated his matchups despite being routinely double teamed, while linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and Krys Barnes combined for 13 tackles.

It was a heck of a bounce back performance for the defense after getting roughed up by Cleveland’s power run game to the tune of 219 yards on Christmas.

What They Said

“I don’t think I need to play. Just like I don’t think I need to practice all the time but I do enjoy practicing. This is the first game that my toe got through the game without any issues. No pregame pain killer shot, so I’m feeling good. I’m happy about it. There was definitely a time a few weeks ago when we started to project out and think if we can get the one seed that would be two-plus weeks of rest. But I’m going to play next week, I expect Davante (Adams) to play and our other guys to play. We’re looking forward to finishing off the season on a high note and then getting the bye.”

— Rodgers on whether he needs or wants to play next week in Detroit after clinching the No. 1 seed, a first-round bye and homefield advantage.

Coach Matt LaFleur said he had not spent a ton of time thinking about what he would do with Rodgers and the rest of the team’s stars but is leaning toward them playing at least a little bit.

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In Case You Missed It

— The officiating crew lost a member in the first quarter when umpire Fred Bryan stopped and bent over when trying to spot the ball. It is unclear what happened but he went to the injury tent and then to the locker room. It left the crew with six officials.

— Minnesota played without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Veteran backup Sean Mannion took his place, throwing for 189 yards and one touchdown.

— Prior to the coldest game of the year – it was 11 degrees at kickoff – Dillon showed up to the stadium wearing only bib overalls. After the game, he put them back on for his media availability.

— With normal returner Amari Rodgers on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Packers had newcomer David Moore returning punts. He ended up with 33 yards on three returns, including a 21-yarder that was the longest by Green Bay this season. Moore was so new to the team that Aaron Rodgers said he met him for the first time on the sideline.

— The Packers were playing without eight of their preferred starters Sunday night but Rodgers remains confident that they will get a host of them back in time for the playoffs. He said wide receiver Randall Cobb (core muscle surgery) looked great in his return to practice and might have been able to play this week if it was a playoff game. He added that offensive linemen David Bakhtiari (knee), Billy Turner (knee) and Josh Myers (knee), along with cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (back), all have a legitimate chance to be back soon.

His coach was a little less enthusiastic about that possibility.

“I would say we’ve been optimistic all season long and yet here we are,” LaFleur said. “We’re hopeful but nothing is guaranteed.”

Inside the Numbers

2 – That is how many of the Packers running backs have gained at least 1,000 of total offense this season, just the fourth time in team history that has happened and the first since 1980. Jones currently has 1,190 yards while Dillon is sitting at 1,049.

5-0 – That is Green Bay’s record when Jones gains at least 100 total yards.

117 – That is how many catches Davante Adams has this season after grabbing 11 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. It breaks his own team record for receptions in a season that he set last year.

39 – That is how many wins Matt LaFleur has as Green Bay’s coach. It is the most wins in the first three years of a coaching career in NFL history.

8-0 — That is the Packers record at home this season. Taking 2020 out of the equation because the stadium wasn’t at full capacity, Green Bay has won its last 14 games at Lambeau Field.

What’s Next

Green Bay (13-3) will travel to Detroit (2-13-1) next Sunday in the regular season finale for both teams.