MINNEAPOLIS - Brett Favre, injured thumb and all, threw three touchdown passes and Ahman Green sliced through Minnesota's defense as the Green Bay Packers hung on for a much-needed victory in the unlikliest of places.
The Packers beat the Vikings, 30-27, Sunday night in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for only the third time in the last 12 games with Favre as the starting quarterback. Coming off a bye week, Green Bay snapped a two-game losing skid and won in the Metrodome for the first time since 2000. In the process, the Packers (4-4) climbed to within two games of the NFC North Division-leading VIkings (6-2).
"It's one game. It's a big one, however," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. "This is the second half of the season. I told the guys, ‘What's happened has happened.' Before this game we were 3-4. Things didn't always go our way. Sometimes we didn't let them go our way because we victimized ourselves too many times. But I said, ‘Let's just play the second half and play with the best effort and the best physicality that we can possibly play.' I thought they did a good job of that. I thought they were very physical today and they needed to be when they came over here."
Favre's 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Javon Walker and Ryan Longwell's 27-yard field goal with 2:37 remaining gave Green Bay a 30-20 lead.
The Packers took the air out of the Vikings with a 9-play, 73-yard drive between the third and fourth quarters. Green rushed four times for 24 yards in the drive, including a 16-yard run in which he reversed his route and picked up a key block from Favre. Favre capped the drive by firing a bullet to Walker who reached back to catch the pass for his second touchdown of the game.
"Javon is a great guy; he has tremendous talent and that is why we drafted him in the first round," said Favre.
The Vikings pulled to within 30-27 on Daunte Culpepper's one-yard touchdown plunge, capping a 65-yard drive, with 33 seconds remaining. The Vikings ensuing onside kick was caught high in the air by safety Darren Sharper as the Vikings lost for the second straight week at home after starting the season 6-0.
Favre suffered a hairline fracture of the thumb of his throwing hand in Green Bay's 34-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 19. Though he says the thumb hurts, he didn't alter the way he threw the ball against the Vikings.
"It hurt like hell every play, but you guys aren't going to say that," said Favre. "You guys think I was pulling one over on you. You suck it up. If you are going to play you suck it up."
The Packers pounded away throughout the night against the Vikings and finished with a season-high 451 total yards, including a season-high 261 yards rushing. Favre completed 18 of 28 passes for 194 yards and one interception. Green finished with 137 yards rushing on 21 carries. It was his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season. Najeh Davenport had 43 yards on six carries and Tony Fisher 38 yards on four carries.
"This was huge," said guard Marco Rivera. "If we would have lost I wouldn't have even gotten in the plane. We're 4-4 and this was a big game for us. It's a division game. Now we just got to take this to the next game. If we play like this, we're going to be all right."
Vikings kicker Aaron Elling made field goals from 47 and 37 yards as the Vikings tied the score at 20-20 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
The Packers came out swinging on offense, racking up 317 total yards in the first half and taking a 20-14 lead on Brett Favre's 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Javon Walker with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.
Favre, who finished with a 104.2 passer rating, threw for 135 yards and two touchdowns and the Packers rushed for 182 yards, leaving the Vikings nearly swinging at themselves on the sidelines. After Walker's touchdown, defensive ends Kenny Mixon and Talance Sawyer had to be separated on the sideline by teammates after a heated exchange.
Green darted through the Vikings defense often, rushing for 95 yards on 12 carries. He also caught five passes for 52 yards, including a 5-yard reception from Favre for a touchdown that put Green Bay up, 13-7 early in the second quarter.
Favre, who threw three interceptions in Minnesota's 30-25 win over the Packers in the season opener at Lambeau Field, was picked off by safety Corey Chavous, setting up Culpepper's 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jim Kleinsasser as Minnesota took a 14-13 lead with 2:07 left in the second quarter. Chavous' interception was his seventh of the season and the Vikings' 18th overall. Minnesota entered the game second in NFL in turnover differential at plus-12.
Green Bay's defense was burned by its nemesis, Randy Moss, early, but held the Pro Bowl receiver in check after the Vikings took an early lead.
On third and inches from Green Bay's 43, Daunte Culpepper completely fooled the Packers defense with a play-action fake and tossed a bomb to Moss, who out-jumped safety Darren Sharper in the end zone for his ninth touchdown of the season.
Moss had 9 catches for 150 yards on one TD in Vikings' 30-25 win over the Packers in the season opener.
The Packers drove 67 yards to the Vikings' 2 yard line on their first five plays from scrimmage but had to settle for Longwell's 21-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 11:14 left in the first quarter. Green darted through the Vikings defense for gains of 18 and 27 yards. But Favre threw incomplete twice sandwiched around a one-yard loss by Green.
Donald Driver's 44-yard run on a reverse highlighted Green Bay's second series of the game. But an illegal shift penalty against the Packers nullified a 25-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Driver and the Packers settled for Longwell's 43 yard field goal to close to 7-6.