Packers-Vikings flashback: Nov. 13, 1983

Barely-memorable Packers Mike Meade, Jessie Clark and Greg Boyd made sure the franchise's first game in the Metrodome was a successful one.<p> The Packers jumped to a 19-0 halftime lead and then hung on to beat the Minnesota Vikings 29-21 Nov. 13, 1983.<p>

The game was the Packers' first in the Vikings' two-year old home. Minnesota moved to the Metrodome in 1982 after 21 seasons at Metropolitan Stadium. The Packers' first scheduled game in the Metrodome was erased by the 1982 players strike.

The Packers got 130 yards in total offense from Clark, a fullback, a touchdown from Meade and a safety out of Boyd in improving to 6-5. The victory moved the Packers into a tie for first place in the old NFC Central with the Vikings.

"Hey, it's bad enough sharing it with Minnesota," Packer defensive end Byron Braggs said after the game. "How long will we be sharing it? Hopefully for another two or three days … till next Sunday."

Green Bay looked right at home in the dome early in the game.

Jan Stenerud gave the Packers the lead for good with a 46-yard field goal with 7 minutes and 32 seconds left in the first quarter. Meade made it 14-0 on a 1-yard run – the only touchdown of his career – with 2:04 left in the quarter.

The Packers were able to take a 19-point lead at the half thanks to a 5-yard scoring pass from Lynn Dickey to John Jefferson and a safety by defensive end Greg Boyd. The safety came when Boyd tackled Viking quarterback Steve Dils in the end zone with 2:58 left in the first half.

"We were lucky we were only down by 19," Vikings coach Bud Grant said. "It could have been ‘dreadfuller.' "

The contest got a little hairy for the Packers in the third quarter when the Vikings pulled to within eight at 22-14. Minnesota sandwiched two short Ricky Young TD runs around a 40-yard field goal by Stenerud to make it a game again.

Things got downright worrisome in the final quarter as the Vikings put themselves in position to overtake the Packers. Minnesota shaved the Packer lead to one at 22-21 with 11:10 remaining. The Vikings then looked to be on their way to the go-ahead score when the Packers got a huge break.

Facing a third-and-two from their own 46, the Vikings were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The referees ruled the Vikings were trying to confuse the Packers with an extra man in the huddle. The guilty party was center Dennis Swilley who joined a huddle that already contained a center in Dave Huffman.

The third-and-two became a third-and-17, which the Vikings were not able to convert.

"Stuff like that makes it hard to call (defensive) signals," Packer wide receiver James Lofton said. "They had been doing it a lot. They're good at it. Before, they had been doing it with receivers and running backs. This one was unintentional."

Said Grant: "They call that lingering. I've never seen it called."

The Packers gave themselves some breathing room with 2:12 left when Dickey found Lofton in the right corner of the end zone. The 19-yard touchdown pass came with the Packers facing a third-and-11.

"(That was) our biggest play in a long time," Packer coach Bart Starr said. Notes: Clark rushed 10 times for 79 yards and caught three passes for 31 yards. … Dickey was 13 of 27 for 180 yards with an interception. He was sacked six times. … The Packers overcame a record-setting performance by Viking running back Darrin Nelson. The Stanford product set a club record with 278 combined yards (119 rushing, 137 passing and 22 return yards). … The Packers followed this game with a pair of overtime losses. … The 1983 Packers finished 8-8 and did not make the playoffs.

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