1. Thielen keeps hands down until late
In Kirk Cousins’ last-minute touchdown strike to Adam Thielen in the fourth quarter — which put the Vikings in position to tie the score on a two-point conversion — Thielen pulled the ball in behind two Packers defenders who had their backs to the ball. The catch, Thielen said, was a product of his having “late hands” — waiting as long as he could to put his hands up for the ball, so as not to tip defenders off that they should attempt to deflect it. The skill, Thielen said, is the product of countless practice reps, including drills where corners are staring at him and not the ball.
2. Vikings see a different Rodgers
Rather than trying to extend plays by throwing on the run and operating outside the pocket, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to play differently with his sprained left knee in a brace. According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers released the ball in an average of just 2.24 seconds Sunday and completed 21 of 23 passes when he released the ball in less than 2.5 seconds. Coach Mike Zimmer, it should be noted, said after the game the Packers’ offensive linemen got away with holding throughout the game.
3. Vikings benefited from Packers’ puzzling clock management
When the Packers got the ball at the Vikings 13 with 2:04 to go after Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s interception, the game appeared all but over. The Vikings were able to come back, however, because some dubious play-calling by Packers coach Mike McCarthy drained just 19 seconds off the clock before a Mason Crosby field goal. McCarthy called for a run play on first down, which only took four seconds off the clock before the two-minute warning, and threw for the end zone on second and third down.