By Joe Gunther

The Minnesota Vikings followed up their worst performance of the season by playing a bit better in week 16, but fell short of a winning effort. The team lost 38-25 to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. As a result, the Vikings were officially eliminated from the playoffs. 

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Offense: C

Despite conservative coaching and center Nick Easton, the Vikings weren’t awful on offense. They had back-to-back good drives to get points immediately after the Packers scored and were moving to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion just before halftime. However, turnovers turned a couple good drives into points for the Packers.

As for Easton, he single handedly doomed the offense. For example, he wasn’t looking at the quarterback for the timing to snap the ball and caused a delay of game on third-and-one inside the red zone. Then with the ball near midway and the team starting to pick apart the Green Bay defense, he fumbled a shotgun snap for a turnover.

One bright spot was wide receiver Adam Thielen who was the player of the game for the Vikings. He caught a 71-yard touchdown pass in the first half and finished the game with 12 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. 

Defense: D+

The Vikings were able to sack Aaron Rodgers four times, but they let Jordy Nelson and Geronimo Allison run free in the secondary. The Packers were able to do whatever they wanted for most of the game. Having a short field to defend because of two turnovers by the offense didn’t help the defense. The Vikings’ defense seemed like a shell of the unit that had Rodgers confused at US Bank Stadium in week 2. It was not a good day for the defensive unit. 

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Special Teams: C-

The special teams unit did not play a significant role in the team’s loss. With the exception of Kai Forbath’s missed extra point with 4:20 left in the game, the unit was relatively average and quiet. 

Coaching: F

Mike Zimmer showed what type of coach he is in the second quarter when he kicked the field goal on fourth and two inside the Packers 20 yard line while down by multiple scores. Zimmer and the Vikings had nothing to lose with the season on the line and he went with the conservative call. With the margin of error where it is for the Vikings, he has to be more aggressive.

He also chose to kickoff deep down by 19 with 4:20 left in the game. The Vikings were unlikely to come back, but kicking deep with four minutes to play and down by three scores sealed the loss.

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The Vikings finish the season with a home game against the Chicago Bears.