GREEN BAY, Wis. – History will remember the 107th meeting between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers as a game that ended in a tie. At least one Viking took a glass-is-half-empty view of that ambiguous outcome.
“I view it as a loss,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “We gave up a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. I don’t have a sister, but I guess it’s like going to the prom with your sister like everybody says, right?”
Or something like that. In a season that has resembled a daytime soap, the Vikings added another oddball twist that somehow felt entirely appropriate for a team that invents new ways to lose.
Except this wasn’t a loss. Or a victory.
Instead, the Vikings were left emotionally conflicted after finishing 75 minutes of football deadlocked in a 26-26 tie against their border rivals on a frigid day at Lambeau Field.
In squandering a 23-7 lead in the fourth quarter, the Vikings came undone by a series of defensive penalties and dropped passes, including one by rookie Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone in overtime.
“I don’t know how to view it,” Adrian Peterson said. “It’s not a win, it’s not a loss. It is what it is.”
The tie moved the Vikings record to 2-8-1, while Green Bay (5-5-1) stayed alive in the NFC North race that nobody seems to want to win.
Sunday’s game marked the Vikings’ third tie in the overtime era (since 1974) and their first since 1978, which came against the Packers nearly 35 years to the day: a 10-10 tie on Nov. 26, 1978.
The oddness of a tie made for a weird atmosphere inside the Vikings locker room. Nobody really knew how to accept it.
“I guess we didn’t lose,” left tackle Matt Kalil said, “but it’s not as satisfying as a win.”
In their case, the tie felt closer to a loss because the Vikings had control of things early in the fourth quarter. But the Packers started to chip away behind quarterback Matt Flynn, who replaced a struggling Scott Tolzien in the third quarter.
Operating a hurry-up offense, Flynn led the Packers on three consecutive scoring drives — 16 points total — to force overtime on Mason Crosby’s 27-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.
The teams traded field goals on their first possessions of overtime, but neither scored on its next two possessions, ending the game without a victor.
“We came in here to win this game, believing that we could win this game, so to walk off the field without a win it’s a different feeling,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “It’s a weird feeling.”
An empty feeling is perhaps more appropriate. The Vikings failed to capitalize fully on a powerful rushing performance by Peterson (146 yards) and Toby Gerhart (91 yards).
The defense buckled in the fourth quarter as Flynn found his rhythm. The Vikings could have closed out the game, but Flynn connected with James Jones for a 28-yard completion on fourth-and-6 with 1:17 left.
Everson Griffen had jumped offsides, giving Flynn a free play. He lobbed a pass downfield to Jones, who freed himself from cornerback Marcus Sherels. That set up Crosby’s game-tying field goal.