With quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense on the field for the majority of the second half last night, eight Vikings regulars on defense had season-high snap totals in the thrilling 20-13 win at Lambeau Field.
The Packers ran 79 plays compared to just 48 for the Vikings. That was the most an opponent has had this season. And the Vikings defenders didn’t have much time to catch their breath as the Packers kept the pedal to the metal on offense while unsuccessfully trying to rally from a 20-3 deficit.
Safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo, cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman, and middle linebacker Eric Kendricks played every snap. After the game, Smith said he was so exhausted in the late stages that he wasn’t sure if he could have continued his Ironman streak any longer.
Outside linebacker Anthony Barr played a season-high 76 snaps and defensive tackle Tom Johnson logged a season-high 72. Defensive end Brian Robison’s 66 snaps tied his season high set against the Rams in Week 9.
Defensive end Everson Griffen played 68 snaps, four fewer than he played in a pair of other games, but that was still a significant workload for him.
In all, only 14 players saw the field on defense, in large part due to Green Bay’s no-huddle attack. A week ago, in the blowout win against the Giants, 21 of the 22 defensive players on the roster played at least six snaps.
But the Vikings defenders had just enough left to hold off the Packers.
Here are some other observations from the NFL’s official snap counts:
— The 48 offensive snaps were a season low for the Vikings. The previous low was 52 in the blowout loss to the Seahawks in Week 13. But they still kept everyone involved, with 11 skill position players getting at least five.
— Wide receiver Adam Thielen played just seven snaps on offense, but he made the most of them with a 16-yard reception and two carries for 67 yards (41 of them came on a fake punt). Starting wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace played 38 and 35 snaps, respectively, and slot man Jarius Wright played 28. Cordarrelle Patterson did not play on offense for the sixth straight week and Charles Johnson was a healthy scratch again.
— Despite missing about a quarter of action due to lower back spasms, running back Adrian Peterson still played 31 of the offensive snaps. Jerick McKinnon got 12 and Matt Asiata got five. Fullback Zach Line played 17 snaps, his second highest percentage of snaps played this season.
— Tight end Kyle Rudolph led all skill position players with 42 snaps played. Tight end Rhett Ellison, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter, played 20. Rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt got five.
— Rookie defensive end Danielle Hunter played 47 snaps in Green Bay.