Minnesota posted its first shutout in 24 years and remained in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Quarterback Case Keenum stopped one last time before heading up the tunnel at Lambeau Field, clapping his hands above his head while Minnesota Vikings fans chanted “Skol! Skol!”
The Vikings’ defense felt right at home Saturday night in Green Bay.
A 16-0 victory over the injury-depleted Packers gave Minnesota its first shutout in nearly a quarter-century and kept the NFC North champions in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye.
Stefon Diggs caught a 4-yard pass from Keenum just inside the back line of the end zone in the first quarter for the only touchdown of the game. The Vikings (12-3) can clinch a bye if Carolina loses or ties Sunday against Tampa Bay.
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The defense has “played pretty good all year long … proof will be in the pudding here in a couple weeks,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, referring to the playoffs.
Minnesota forced an incompletion into the end zone on fourth-and-four from the 14 early in the fourth quarter to turn away the Packers’ last best effort to cross the goal line. Safety Harrison Smith ended another Green Bay drive with an interception at the Minnesota 5 late in the second quarter.
Minnesota left frigid Lambeau Field with its first shutout since a 13-0 decision over Detroit on Dec. 5, 1993. It was the Vikings’ first shutout over the Packers (7-8) since 1971.
The Packers managed to hold a 239-236 edge in total yards.
“I never felt more defeated, more embarrassed by a performance. Yeah, we had opportunities, and we didn’t connect when we did,” Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb said.
In its defense, the team fielded a lineup that often looked like one coach Mike McCarthy would send out for an exhibition game. The Packers already had been eliminated from playoff contention.
Green Bay’s Brett Hundley was 17 of 40 for 130 yards with two interceptions in taking over at quarterback again for Aaron Rodgers, who returned to injured reserve several days ago after missing seven games earlier in the year with a collarbone injury.
Fans bundled up in parkas, huddled under blankets and sipped on free hot chocolate to stay warm. Purple-clad Minnesota backers celebrated in the stands on a night in which temperatures hovered in the single digits.
Ravens beat Colts
BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens didn’t force a turnover, scored only two touchdowns and were dangerously close to going into overtime at home against lowly Indianapolis.
“We didn’t play our best game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh readily acknowledged.
Though Baltimore’s performance was not particularly artistic, the team perceived the result to be a thing of beauty: Ravens 23, Colts 16.
Baltimore (9-6) scored on its first two possessions and held off the skidding Colts (3-12) in a windy, rain-soaked second half.
The Ravens will reach the playoffs as an AFC wild card by defeating visiting Cincinnati (5-9) next Sunday. Striving for its first postseason berth since 2014, Baltimore has won five of six after a 4-5 start.
“We found a way to win it. That’s the thing, it’s a win,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t matter. You have to find a way to win in this league.”
Joe Flacco was 29 of 38 for 237 yards passing and two touchdowns, Justin Tucker kicked three field goals, and the Ravens did just enough to squeeze out a victory.