Vikings hold off Packers, win NFC North
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings are the new kings of the NFC North.
Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards for a score in a 20-13 win on Sunday night over the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings (11-5), claiming their first division title since 2009, will host the Seattle Seahawks for a wild-card playoff game next Sunday. The Packers (10-6) will travel to Washington, also Sunday, after watching their four-year reign atop the NFC North end.
The upstart Vikings survived despite a shaky finish in hostile territory. The defense knocked away a desperation pass in the end zone from Aaron Rodgers on fourth down as time expired.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby forced a fumble on Cordarrelle Patterson’s potentially field-flipping 70-yard kickoff return with 5:21 left. But the Packers’ next drive ended with Rodgers being intercepted in the end zone by Xavier Rhodes.
The Vikings got the sterling defensive effort needed on the road to win their first game at Lambeau Field since 2009. Coach Mike Zimmer smiled and raised both arms in the air after Rodgers’ pass was knocked down in the end zone.
A handful of Vikings later came back on to the field to take pictures. They’ll remember this night for a while.
Peterson ran for 67 yards on 19 carries. He gave the Vikings a scare after leaving midway through the third quarter with a lower back injury before returning late in the fourth quarter.
Teddy Bridgewater was just 10 of 19 for 99 yards, and the passing game was rendered largely ineffective. But the defense snuffed out Green Bay’s dysfunctional offense at nearly every turn until the frantic fourth quarter. Everson Griffen had two sacks.
The dormant Packers scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a 16-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers, and a 43-yard field goal by Crosby.
But a slow start doomed the Packers once again, as did a sluggish running game.
Aaron Rodgers finished 28 of 44 for 291 yards with a touchdown and interception. Running back Eddie Lacy had a strong start, but finished with just 34 yards on 13 carries.
Peterson and the Vikings rushed right past them to take the NFC North.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL