Final

Packers 34

(11-5, 4-4 away)

Vikings 37

(10-6, 7-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:25 PM ET, December 30, 2012

Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN 

1 2 3 4 T
GB 0 10 14 1034
MIN 10 10 7 1037

Top Performers

Passing: A. Rodgers (GB) - 365 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 34 CAR, 199 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: G. Jennings (GB) - 8 REC, 120 YDS, 2 TD

Adrian Peterson nearly sets record, powers Vikings into playoffs

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson picked up the Minnesota Vikings and gave them a thrilling ride to the playoffs, where the next stop on this improbable journey is, yes, Green Bay.

This game was so full of action, intrigue and tension they're going to stage it again next weekend.

Peterson finished 9 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, but he still powered the Vikings past the Packers 37-34 Sunday with 199 yards to set up a rematch at Lambeau Field in a first-round playoff game.

"I told myself to come into this game focused on one thing, and that's winning," Peterson said.

Peterson rumbled around the left side of the line for a 27-yard gain in the closing seconds, his career-high 34th carry exactly one year after reconstructive surgery on his left knee. That set up Blair Walsh's 29-yard field goal as time expired and put the Vikings (10-6) in the postseason after consecutive last-place finishes.

"For our guys to be as resilient as they were, it has you swelling with pride," coach Leslie Frazier said.

The division champion Packers (11-5) dropped to the NFC's No. 3 seed. Their five-game winning streak against the Vikings ended.

"I had a feeling that we had the game in the bag the whole game," Vikings cornerback Chris Cook said. "It was just a vibe that I had on the sideline, in how we were carrying ourselves."

Aaron Rodgers completed 28 of 40 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions, connecting with Jordy Nelson from 2 yards to tie the game with 2:54 remaining. But Christian Ponder threw for three scores, including one to Peterson.

Ponder went 16 for 28 for 234 yards, including a 65-yard zinger in stride to Jarius Wright midway through the fourth quarter that set up Ponder's third touchdown toss.

"It's disappointing. A lot of us wanted that extra week," Rodgers said.

Peterson finished with 2,097 yards, becoming the seventh player in NFL history to reach the 2,000 mark. He had to work for it, pulling out all the cutbacks, stutter-steps and spins he could find in his exceptional skill set. His longest run was only 28 yards against a defense geared to slow him down, and the first contact often came at, near or behind the line of scrimmage.

"It wasn't meant to happen, or it would've happened. Not to say it doesn't hurt, because it does," Peterson said of Dickerson's 28-year-old record. "But we came in here tonight and accomplished the ultimate goal, and that was getting a win and punching our ticket to the playoffs."

The Packers cut the lead to 27-24 late in the third quarter on a touchdown reception by James Jones. The on-field ruling was a fumble at the goal line, triggering an automatic review. Because the Packers threw the challenge flag after the replay process began, however, they were only penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, not prevented from benefiting from the overturned call. That's what happened to Detroit infamously on Thanksgiving, when a disputed score by Houston was prevented from review.

After posting a 9-23 record over the last two years, the Vikings made so many strides in 2012 that the season was already a success. But no NFL team would ever be satisfied by finishing in defeat against a division rival, and the emotion and energy behind the quest was palpable all afternoon.

"It took us a little while to adjust to the crowd noise, and we didn't get going," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "That usually happens up here. This is a tough place to play, no doubt. We anticipated this being the loudest environment of the year. They pumped it in here pretty good today."

The NFC North was sewn up by the Packers two weeks earlier. Even though the bye remained in the balance the top seed didn't do the Packers any good last season. They went 15-1 and lost their opener at home to the eventual champion Giants.

Rodgers played without injured leading receiver Randall Cobb, so Greg Jennings was the main guy, grabbing eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. But the Vikings sacked Rodgers five times, recovering a fumble on one of them at midfield to set up a third-quarter touchdown.

Rodgers has 24 touchdowns, only four interceptions and a 70 percent completion rate over 10 career starts against the Vikings. His poise, arm strength and savvy came through clear against them as much as any other team. Plus, cornerback Antoine Winfield's aggravated hand injury kept him on the sideline for most of the game.

Just as Ponder capably complemented Peterson, DuJuan Harris came out of nowhere to provide Rodgers some help. Green Bay has been proving lately it's not a one-sided offense, either, and Harris rushed 14 times for 70 yards

But this was Peterson's show. Second-and-27? He surged off right tackle and bounced outside for 28 yards on a drive that ended with his second touchdown, a 2-yard reception that pushed the lead to 27-17 in the third quarter. The "MVP" chants from the crowd rang out in earnest after that.

Game notes


Cobb's absence meant the Packers went without a 1,000-yard receiver for the first time since 2003. Cobb finished with 954 yards. ... Vikings WR Jerome Simpson was woozy after an end-zone collision in the third quarter, falling back down after trying to get up the first time. He passed concussion tests and returned to the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
GB
MIN
1st Downs2425
Passing 1st downs
1813
Rushing 1st downs
310
1st downs from penalties
32
3rd down efficiency
6-136-12
4th down efficiency
1-11-1
Total Plays6166
Total Yards405444
Yards per play6.66.7
Total Drives1111
Passing333227
Comp-Att
28-4016-28
Yards per pass
7.47.8
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
5-321-7
Rushing72217
Rushing Attempts
1637
Yards per rush
4.55.9
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Penalties7-4310-98
Turnovers10
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession28:0531:55

Passing Leaders

GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rodgers28/403659.1405-32
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ponder16/282348.4301-7

Rushing Leaders

GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Harris14705.0012
Grant221.002
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson341995.9128
Ponder2168.008

Receiving Leaders

GBRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jennings812015.0245
Nelson38729.0173
MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wright39030.0165
Simpson33913.0021

Scoring Summary

No Scoring Summary available

Research Notes

From Elias: Adrian Peterson's 172.2 rush YPG in December is the highest calendar-month average in NFL history for any player who played a minimum of 4 games in a single month. The list he tops is an impressive one:
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: Christian Ponder tied a season high by completing four passes on throws at least 15 yards downfield, including a 65-yard pass to Jarius Wright and a 25-yard pass to Mike Jenkins on the Vikings' last two drives. Entering the game, Ponder had completed a league-worst 31.4 percent of his passes on such throws, including 0-of-6 in his last meeting against the Packers.
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: Adrian Peterson had 11 rushes for 113 yards outside the tackles Sunday, including a 26-yard rush outside the left tackle on his final carry to set up the Vikings game-winning field goal. This was Peterson's only 100-yard rushing game outside the tackles over the last five seasons, and it continues a trend of tough running outside over his last eight games.
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: Adrian Peterson became the 7th running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season, due in large part to his tough running, as he rushed for 1,019 yards after first contact, the highest single season total for a player of the past four seasons.
  [+]
Adrian Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards this season, 1,019 of those yards after contact. That 1,019 figure by itself would eclipse each of the first 17 NFL rushing leaders from 1932 through 1948, and 21 of the first 22 (1932 through 1953)

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