MINNEAPOLIS — If the Vikings are to make a deep run in the NFC Playoffs, they will have to do so on the road.
Minnesota’s bid for an undefeated 2019 campaign at home come to a close Monday night, as Green Bay earned a 23-10 win in Week 16.
The Vikings, who are now 10-5, are locked into the sixth seed — the NFC’s second and final Wild Card spot. Minnesota would have been the fifth seed, and play at the winner of the NFC East, by winning their final two games.
The Vikings clinched a playoff spot Saturday night with a Rams loss to the 49ers.
Green Bay clinched the NFC North and moved to 12-3 with its win. The Packers also snapped a three-game losing streak at U.S. Bank Stadium with their first ever victory at the venue that opened in 2016.
The Vikings close out the regular season at home in Week 17 against the Bears.
Here are four more takeaways from Monday night:
1. A missed opportunity
Stefon Diggs wants his first NFL pass attempt back.
The Vikings faced third-and-4 at the Packers 42-yard line with just under three minutes left in the second quarter.
Minnesota ran a toss to the left with Mike Boone, only to have the running back pitch the ball to Diggs on a reverse … with a wide-open Kirk Cousins streaking down the right sideline.
Diggs misfired on the pass and shouldered the blame after the game.
“Terrible pass … [Cousins] did a great job. I should have set my feet,” Diggs said. “Good play call. If I could go back in time right now, I’d probably run [the play] again.
“It was a great play call. It was wide open, I just missed the throw,” Diggs added.
2. Loss of linebackers
The Vikings linebackers depth took a massive hit Monday night, as both Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr left the game with injuries.
Kendricks was injured late in the second quarter on a play where he recovered a fumble forced by Harrison Smith. The linebacker picked up the ball near midfield but gingerly attempted a return.
It was announced that Kendricks, who had two fumble recoveries on the night, suffered a quad injury.
Barr left the game a little more that midway through the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He was injured on an 18-yard pass by the Packers.
On the ensuing play without the linebacker who makes the defensive play calls, Green Bay ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run to go ahead by double digits.
Eric Wilson, Kentrell Brothers and Cam Smith stepped in for the duo, with Wilson relaying the defensive calls.
3. No answer for Adams
Davante Adams didn’t score a touchdown Monday night, be he produced a big game against the Vikings secondary.
The Packers wide receiver tied his career high with 13 catches, and racked up 116 yards on Monday Night Football.
Adams produced a pair of big games against the Vikings in 2019, as he tallied 20 receptions for 220 yards in a pair of Packers wins.
View game action images as the Vikings take on the Packers on Monday Night Football.
4. Cousins under pressure
The Vikings offense gained a season-low 139 yards Monday, a stat that wasn’t helped by the fact that Cousins was sacked five times.
Minnesota had allowed just eight sacks in its past six games before the Vikings offensive line was under siege against the Packers.
The Vikings allowed four of the five sacks in the second half as Cousins dropped back to pass 22 times after halftime.
Minnesota’s offensive line has played well in wins, allowing just 15 sacks in 10 Vikings victories in 2019. But the unit has given up 13 sacks in five losses, including a combined 11 sacks in division losses to Chicago and Green Bay.