GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw a pair of touchdown passes before leaving with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and the Minnesota Vikings beat the slumping Green Bay Packers 24-10 on Sunday.
Cousins walked gingerly to the sideline after getting sacked on consecutive plays during a series that ended with Green Bay’s Karl Brooks blocking Greg Joseph’s 44-yard field-goal attempt. Jaren Hall, a rookie fifth-round pick from BYU, took over for the rest of the game.
This marked the first Packers-Vikings matchup since 2006 in which both teams entered the game with losing records, but Minnesota got back to .500 on Sunday with its third consecutive victory.
Now the Vikings (4-4) must wonder whether they’re going to have to try continuing this surge without Cousins, who went 23 of 31 for 274 yards. Cousins has never missed a game because of injury in his 12-year career, though he did sit out a game at Green Bay during the 2021 season because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Minnesota’s T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison had touchdown receptions less than two minutes apart early in the third quarter. Cam Akers put Minnesota ahead for good in the opening period by giving the Vikings their first touchdown run of the season.
The Packers (2-5) lost their fourth straight and continued their penchant for slow starts. The Packers have been outscored 73-9 in the first half of their past five games and haven’t scored a touchdown before halftime in any of them.
Minnesota dominated the first two quarters, but only led 10-3 at the break largely because of missed opportunities. But the Vikings wasted no time breaking the game open early in the third quarter.
Cousins’ 2-yard touchdown pass to Hockenson capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive to begin the second half. On the Packers’ ensuing possession, Jordan Love threw deep to Jayden Reed, but Josh Metellus made a spectacular catch with his back to the quarterback and then delivered a 43-yard interception return to give the Vikings the ball at the Green Bay 20.
On the next play, Cousins connected with Jordan Addison in the end zone to extend Minnesota’s lead to 24-3 with 7:48 left in the third.
Green Bay finally reached the end zone on Love’s 1-yard pass to Romeo Doubs on fourth-and-goal late in the third quarter to cut the lead to 24-10, but the Packers couldn’t get any closer despite continually reaching Vikings territory in the fourth quarter.
The drive that followed Brooks’ blocked field goal ended with the Packers losing the ball on downs at the Minnesota 10-yard line. Hall fumbled while getting sacked on his third snap to give Green Bay the ball at the Minnesota 15, but the Packers again lost the ball on downs. The Packers’ final series ended with a fourth down incompletion from the Minnesota 34.
Love ended up going 24 of 41 for 229 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Minnesota could have put this game out of reach much earlier.
With five minutes left in the second quarter, the Vikings had a 182-26 advantage in total offense and a 13-0 edge in first downs. The Packers already had committed eight of their 11 penalties by that point.
Green Bay didn’t get a first down until its fifth series when Love threw an 11-yard completion to Christian Watson with just over four minutes left in the first half. The play drew a heart and sarcastic round of applause from a Lambeau Field crowd frustrated by Green Bay’s first-half failures.
Vikings DL Dean Lowry left with a groin injury in the first half. … Packers OT Yosh Nijman hurt his foot late in the game.
Vikings: At Atlanta next Sunday.
Packers: Host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.