GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings' offense awoke just
in time to tear out the Packers' hearts as time expired -- again.
This kick was a tad easier.
A month after hitting a team-record 56-yarder to beat Green Bay
at the Metrodome, Paul Edinger did it again from 27 yards Monday
night to sink the Packers with a 20-17 victory that keeps
Minnesota's season afloat.
Missing an injured Daunte Culpepper, rocked by lewd allegations
from a boating trip and given up for dead a month ago, Minnesota is
now 5-5 and still in the hunt for the playoffs after winning three
in a row.
As for the Packers, their season is all but over after their
division rival swept them for the first time since 1998.
"This one may be the worst because No. 1, it was Minnesota; No.
2, it was at home; and No. 3, it was Minnesota again," said Green
Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman.
Minnesota has struggled mightily on offense since Culpepper was
lost for the season with a knee injury, mustering just 137 yards
last week in an unlikely win over the Giants. But they put together
a strong showing behind Brad Johnson's 196 yards and running back
Mewelde Moore, who had 122 yards on 22 carries.
The 37-year-old Johnson set up Edinger's kick with a nine-play,
58-yard drive in the final 3 minutes and three seconds after Green
Bay tied it at 17.
"You can't get frustrated," said Johnson, who was 18-of-30.
"Tonight we made the drives when we had to, especially in the
second half. ... You just have to be patient and do what you've
done in practice."
Minnesota coach Mike Tice shuffled his offensive line this week
hoping to inject some life into the offense, starting
380-plus-pound Toniu Fonoti at left guard and Cory Withrow at
center. It worked, for the most part.
Johnson was sacked five times, fumbling twice, and Minnesota
couldn't muster much offense in the first half. But just like last
week -- when the Vikings returned a punt, kickoff and interception
for touchdowns -- they found another way.
With Green Bay driving, Dovonte Edwards intercepted Brett
Favre's pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown with a little
more than a minute left in the first half.
"It was exciting," Edwards said. "I had a dream actually last
night that I would do something big today and it came true. Mike
Tice said you need to dream, dream about making plays and that's
what I did last night and it happened for me tonight."
The play was reviewed after Edwards and intended receiver Andrae
Thurman crashed to the ground at the same time. But officials ruled
Edwards was not down by contact before he got up and scored.
Favre atoned for the mistake seconds later, hitting Donald
Driver for a 53-yard touchdown pass after the receiver beat
cornerback Antoine Winfield and outran former Packers safety Darren
Sharper. Green Bay led 14-7 at the half.
It was the second half when Minnesota's offense came alive.
The Packers couldn't capitalize on Johnson's fumble early in the
third quarter and were forced to punt, pinning the Vikings at their
own 12. Minnesota then put together its best drive of the game,
aided by two defensive penalties inside the Green Bay 10-yard line.
The second, a pass interference call in the end zone, put the
ball at the 1-yard line. Ciatrick Fason plunged into the end zone
on his second attempt -- Minnesota's first offensive touchdown in
The win puts the Vikings at .500 for the first time this season
and keeps them in the postseason hunt, two games behind NFC North
leader Chicago (7-3).
Meanwhile, the loss puts the Packers (2-8) on the verge of
ending an impressive streak -- they haven't had a losing season
since Favre took over as starter in 1992, a run of 13 years that's
best in the league. They have to win out to avoid snapping that
run, an unlikely task with Chicago (twice) and Seattle (8-2) left
on the schedule.
Favre finished the game 20-for-33 for 227 yards and two
touchdowns. He declined to speak to the media following the game, a
rarity for the 14-year veteran.
Favre has worked without a running game much of the season, and
Monday night was no different.
Samkon Gado was last week's feel good story of the NFL after the
Nigerian immigrant rushed for 103 yards and scored three touchdowns
in the Packers' win over Atlanta. But the rookie looked like a
one-game wonder Monday.
"I hadn't heard about that running back before last week, and I
told the guys I didn't want to hear about him again after
tonight," Tice said.
Gado caught a nice pass for 30 yards -- his career long -- on
Green Bay's first scoring drive. But his first 10 rushes netted
just nine yards, he dropped a pass late in the second quarter while
wide open and fumbled early in the third deep in Packers'
Tony Fisher replaced him on the next drive, but the Packers were
held to 21 yards rushing. The Vikings held Green Bay to a
then-season-low 45 yards rushing the last time the two met.<
^NOTES: ... Driver's touchdown catch in the first quarter gave him
58 straight games with a reception, tied for third in Packer
history. Sterling Sharpe is No. 1 with 103. ... Moore set a season
high rushing with 122 yards. ... Green Bay fullback William
Henderson notched the 300th catch of his career. ... The past seven
regular season games between the two teams have been decided by
five points or less.
The NFL says it is close but still has yet to interview the four players named along with Peyton Manning in a report five months ago that linked them to PEDs.
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