Turning Point: Turnover Winners

The Vikings tried a new concept Sunday -- winning the turnover differential with four interceptions. For a change, the defense was an asset and kept the Vikings in the lead with big plays all game long.

A year ago, two of the things that killed the Vikings consistently were causing turnovers on offense and not creating enough turnovers on defense. Few stats are more indicative to who will win a game than the turnover differential. On Sunday, the Vikings didn't play mistake-free football, but won the turnover edge and created the turning point of the game.

The Vikings intercepted Brett Favre four times, and each of them came at a point where the momentum of the game could have easily swung in favor of the Packers — and each was needed for the Vikings to escape Lambeau with a victory.

A review:

* First quarter, 6:35 to play. Trailing 7-0, the Packers had managed just 1 yard on five offensive plays. Favre tried to thread a pass into Donald Driver. Denard Walker jumped the pass and tipped it away. The ball went straight up in the air and was intercepted by Corey Chavous. It would lead to a field goal and a 10-0 Vikings lead.

* Second quarter, 2:00 to play. Trailing 17-3, Favre had the Packers driving on the Vikings 37. He threw for tight end David Martin, who tangled legs with WR Robert Ferguson and stumbled. Brian Russell is waiting for the ball and makes the pick to preserve a 14-point lead.

* Second quarter, 35 seconds to play. Favre had driven the Packers to the Vikings 10-yard line still trailing 17-3. A touchdown would have cut the deficit to seven with the Packers getting the opening kick in the second half. Favre was looking for Driver in the end zone, but Driver turned in the opposite direction. The pass was intercepted by Brian Williams 6 yards deep in the end zone, and he returned the pick all the way to the Packers 28-yard line. It set up a 46-yard field goal by Aaron Elling and, instead of potentially being ahead 17-10 at halftime, the Vikings have a 20-3 lead.

* Fourth quarter, 4:54 to play. Trailing 30-18 and needing two scores, Favre had the ball in Vikings territory. He threw up a bomb for Walker, but Chavous out-leaped him in the end zone for an interception, allowing the Vikings offense to take two minutes off the clock and force the Packers to burn all their time outs down by two TDs.

Each of the plays became critical to winning the game and, while the Vikings didn't have an interception, Favre's four picks not only changed momentum but provided several turning points of the game.


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