The Vikings had a first-and-goal on the Packers’ 7 with 1:19 remaining in a tie game Sunday. The Packers had one timeout remaining, so the Vikings had two choices. They could try to score a touchdown with as little time left as possible, or they could run almost all the time off the clock and attempt a game-winning field goal.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer chose the latter. Kirk Cousins took a knee on back-to-back snaps to take the clock down to two seconds. They then attempted the field goal, which kicker Greg Joseph made as time expired.

COLTS: Jonathan Taylor posts massive stat-line during five-TD day

Why did the Vikings settle for the field goal instead of going for the touchdown? Zimmer gave a simple explanation after the game.

“I figured the best way to win the game was with [Packers QB Aaron Rodgers] on the bench,” Zimmer told reporters.

That was a sensible decision. After all, the Vikings had just seen Rodgers and the Packers rapidly answer one of their scores.

Minnesota scored a go-ahead touchdown and notched a 2-point conversion to take a 31-24 lead with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter. Rodgers and the Packers needed just nine seconds to respond.

MORE: Matt Nagy loses it over ill-timed headset gaffe in Bears’ loss

Rodgers launched a deep pass to receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the first play of the Green Bay drive. Valdes-Scantling made the catch and then sped away from the defensive back, getting into the end zone with 2:08 left. The 75-yard touchdown allowed the Packers to tie the game 31-31.

Zimmer didn’t want to let that happen again. As such, he decided to burn almost all of the remaining time after the Vikings drove the ball deep into Packers territory on the ensuing possession. He trusted Joseph to make the short field goal.

The decision did come with some risk. Joseph missed a game-winning 37-yard attempt as time expired in the Vikings’ 34-33 loss to the Cardinals in Week 2, so it was possible that he could fail once again.

But Zimmer made the right choice. The Vikings improved to 5-5 with the 34-31 win and are now the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture. They’re also just 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Packers in the NFC North.

NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE: Latest updates after Week 11 games