Packers top Vikings, even NFC North race
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers reminded the Minnesota Vikings whose division this has been this decade.
Rodgers threw for 212 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, Datone Jones had two of Green Bay’s six sacks and the Packers stopped a three-game losing streak with a convincing 30-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to pull even in the NFC North race.
James Jones had six catches for 109 yards and a score, Eddie Lacy rushed for a season-high 100 yards on 22 carries and the Packers (7-3) beat the rival Vikings for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings with Rodgers at quarterback. He has thrown for 28 touchdown passes with just three interceptions in those games.
The Vikings (7-3) had their six-game winning streak shoved back in their face by a proud Packers team that clearly wasn’t ready to concede a division it has won four straight times. The rematch is on Jan. 3 in Green Bay.
Right after the ugliest of those three defeats, an 18-16 decision at home against Detroit, Rodgers and the Packers roared back with one of his vintage performances against the Vikings to the delight of the enemy fans chanting, ”Go, Pack, Go!” throughout the evening.
Rodgers rolled right with plenty of time on third-and-9 and zinged the ball to Jones at the edge of the end zone for a 27-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter. He shoveled the 2-point conversion pass to Jones, too, for a 27-13 lead.
Then, Adrian Peterson, who was held to a quiet 45 yards on 13 rushes with one touchdown, lost a fumble at the Packers 21 after a 10-yard gain. Bridgewater took back-to-back sacks to prompt a punt on the next possession, all but sealing the first loss at home for the Vikings in eight games since the Packers won here almost exactly a year ago.
Teddy Bridgewater took quite a bruising, leaving the game briefly with an injury to his left shoulder but managing to finish 25 for 37 for 296 yards and a touchdown without any turnovers. The Packers went without a sack on their entire three-game losing streak.
Mason Crosby made all five of his field goal tries, rounding out the kind of balanced performance they’ve been lacking all season.
This was the first time this season the Vikings, who entered the weekend with the league’s second-lowest defensive scoring average, gave up more than 23 points.
Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher who passed the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh time in his nine-year career, averaged 116 yards over the first 15 times he played the Packers with four games of 150-plus yards.
The Packers settled for mid-range field goals by Crosby on their first three drives, moving the ball just enough in the face of a fierce Vikings pass rush to put up some points. One of those was set up by a 70-yard kickoff return by Jeff Janis that followed Bridgewater’s 47-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph, who finished with 106 yards.
Then the Packers used a 50-yard pass interference penalty on Terence Newman, who was covering Janis on third-and-15 from the 15, to move in for more at the end of the first half. An illegal contact call on Anthony Barr during a third-down incompletion gave Rodgers yet another opportunity, and with 10 seconds left he found Cobb on third down for
The Vikings started the previous drive at the Packers 42, but they went three-and-out before a 27-yard punt, the kind of stumble that was far too frequent for them.
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