Packers rise up, knock off Vikings 30-13
By Matt Vensel, Star Tribune
~Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers aren’t quite ready to give up control of the NFC North. The young Vikings weren’t poised enough to take it from them either.
In a showdown between the top two teams in the division, Rodgers threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the Packers beat the uncharacteristically undisciplined Vikings 30-13 at TCF Bank Stadium. The outcome put the longtime rivals in a first-place tie with identical 7-3 records, but the win gave the Packers the tiebreaker.
Rodgers and the Packers pulled away early in the fourth quarter when Rodgers rolled to his right and whizzed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Packers wide receiver James Jones at the edge of the end zone. Veteran cornerback Terence Newman had tight coverage on the play, but Rodgers completed a pass that few quarterbacks could.
That touchdown put the Packers up 27-13 and they were able to hang on for the win thanks to a fumble by running back Adrian Peterson inside Packers territory and a deep ball that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a half step ahead of wide receiver Mike Wallace, who had sped behind the Packers secondary.
Eventually, with Packers fans loudly chanting “Go Pack Go!”, running back Eddie Lacy, who topped 100 rushing yards for the first time this season, and the Packers ran out the clock.
The Packers scored first with an early field goal by their kicker, Mason Crosby. The Vikings answered with a 47-yard touchdown reception by tight end Kyle Rudolph, the longest touchdown of his career. But kicker Blair Walsh missed the extra-point try, and Crosby kicked another field goal to tie it 6-6 late in the first quarter.
Bridgewater was briefly knocked out of the game with a left shoulder injury in the second quarter when Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers sacked him and Packers defensive end Mike Neal landed on his non-throwing shoulder. Bridgewater would head to the locker room, replaced by Shaun Hill for the rest of the half.
It looked as if the Packers would be taking a 9-6 lead into halftime, but Newman was called for a 50-yard defensive pass interference penalty while defending Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis down the right sideline. Rodgers capitalized with a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb with six seconds left in the half.
The Vikings, who were one of the league’s least-penalized teams entering Sunday, were flagged for eight penalties for 110 yards, their highest total of the season.
The Packers kicked another field goal early in the second half to make it 19-6.
The Vikings offense finally got something going again midway through the third quarter when Bridgewater completed a 17-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs and then a 33-yard strike to Rudolph. Peterson capped off the four-play drive with a six-yard touchdown run to pull the Vikings back within one score, at 19-13.
Bridgewater, who was sacked six times, completed 25 of his 37 attempts for 296 yards. He also scrambled for a career-high 43 rushing yards on four carries.
Peterson passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, but had only 45 yards on 13 carries. Rudolph caught six passes for 106 yards, his first career 100-yard day.
Crosby had field goals of 42, 47, 40, 42 and 52 yards for the Packers. Jones had six catches for 109 yards.
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