GREEN BAY, Wis. – Adam Thielen left the Vikings’ 20-13 victory over the Packers on Sunday when he aggravated a left shoulder injury, but not before making two big plays for his team.
Thielen ran 41 yards off a fake punt on the Vikings’ opening drive to set up a field goal, and had a 26-yard carry on a reverse on a second-half scoring drive.
With those 67 rushing yards, Thielen tied Adrian Peterson, who had 17 carries, for the team lead.
Also leaving the game because of injury were tight end Rhett Ellison (right leg) and defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis (leg). Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told KFAN Radio after the game that Ellison had a torn patellar tendon.
Peterson had back spasms in the second half but returned for the team’s final drive. He had X-rays in the locker room and said on NBC’s telecast after the game: “It was a little back spasms in my lower back. I got a little twisted up. I tried to come back out and dog it up.”
Starting nose tackle Linval Joseph, the Vikings’ best run defender up front, did not play because of a lingering toe injury.
Joseph has missed four of the team’s past five games.
The 6-4, 330-pound nose tackle returned from a three-game absence last weekend to start in a 49-17 win over the New York Giants. He briefly left the game in the first quarter to have his injured toe examined by the athletic training staff, but he quickly returned and ended up playing 31 of the 61 defensive snaps.
Joseph did not practice at all this past week.
Being without Joseph was not ideal for the Vikings, considering that Packers running back Eddie Lacy has had a lot of success against them. Lacy rushed for 100 yards in a 30-13 victory over the Vikings in Week 11 but had only 34 yards on 13 carries on Sunday night.
With Joseph sidelined, Sharrif Floyd started at nose tackle with fellow defensive tackle Tom Johnson getting another start next to him. Ellis was the only other active defensive tackle.
Schedule for 2016
The Vikings’ 2016 opponents were finalized Sunday.
In addition to home-and-home meetings with the other NFC North teams, they’ll play the following:
• Each team in the AFC South and the NFC East.
• The 2015 first-place teams in the NFC West and NFC South.
Home games will be against Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Dallas, the New York Giants, Houston, Indianapolis and Arizona.
Road games will be Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Carolina.
The dates will be released in April.
In addition to Joseph, the Vikings’ inactives were quarterback Taylor Heinicke, wide receiver Charles Johnson, linebacker Brandon Watts, offensive linemen Nick Easton and Jeremiah Sirles, and defensive end Zach Moore.
The Packers, meanwhile, scratched starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, quarterback Brett Hundley, cornerbacks Sam Shields and LaDarius Gunter, guard Josh Walker, tight end Justin Perillo and outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.
The Packers moved left guard Josh Sitton to left tackle to replace Bakhtiari and started Lane Taylor at left guard. It was Taylor’s first NFL start.
The Vikings were the only team in the NFL to start the same five offensive linemen in every game.
Signed by the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday, former Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman on Sunday made his first NFL start since his Monday night debacle in his only start for the Vikings against the Giants in 2013.
Freeman threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Colts tight end Coby Fleener and completed 15 of 28 attempts for 149 yards as the Colts beat the Tennessee Titans 30-24. He split time with Ryan Lindley.
Freeman, who had stints with the Giants and Miami Dolphins after leaving Minnesota, was last seen in the three-team Fall Experimental Football League.
Cordarrelle Patterson won his second NFL kickoff return title in his three seasons with the Vikings but went from hero to goat on his only return of the game. He had a 70-yarder in the fourth quarter with the Vikings leading 20-13 but fumbled when hit from behind by kicker Mason Crosby and the Packers recovered.
Patterson finished with a 32.9-yard average on 32 returns. Ameer Abdullah of Detroit was second at 29.1. Patterson also won the title in his rookie season at 32.4 and made the Pro Bowl as a return man.
Rodgers held in check
Aaron Rodgers started the game with a 116.5 quarterback rating against the Vikings, the highest rating for any quarterback against another team. His rating on Sunday was 80.8.
Rodgers completed 28 of 44 passes for 291 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He was sacked five times.