Vikings kicker Paul Edinger couldn't adequately explain the feeling or the reaction, but he was glad to be the one to deliver a much-needed win for the Vikings with the longest field goal of his career and the longest in Vikings history.
Plus, get more than two dozen game notes from the Vikings' big comeback win.
A week ago, Paul Edinger
felt about as low as any player could have. Despite doing nothing to offend Chicago fans, he was booed loudly, proving the old adage that you can't go home again. In fact, Mike Tice believed that going back to Soldier Field for the first time got in Edinger's head. This time, he had a shot at redemption and wasn't going to be denied.
What was asked of him was something that had never been done by Edinger or by any Vikings kicker – hit a 56-yard field goal to win a game with the season potentially hanging in the balance. But, to hear the Vikings after the game, it seemed like a piece of cake instead of a near-impossible blast.
"He kicked one 60 yards in practice a couple of weeks ago," Tice said. "We knew he could do it. It was just a matter of getting him in position."
That was accomplished with a kickoff return to the 36-yard line and a pair of passes that got the Vikings into Packers territory – almost as if scripted.
"I knew when it hit it that it was going to be far enough," Edinger said. "The only question is whether it would be straight. Coach had said, ‘Let's get it to the 38' and we got it there and gave us a chance."
The win improved the Vikings to 2-4 and handed the Packers their fifth loss in six games and dropped Green Bay to 0-2 in the NFC North. The enthusiasm displayed by the entire team throughout the second half proved how important the game was to them, and nobody was more excited as the kick made its way through the goal posts than Edinger himself.
"When I looked up and saw it going I knew I had the leg on it," Edinger said. "I took off running after it like I was going to catch it. You can't explain. It's a great feeling."
A feeling that was shared by thousands of Vikings fans both at the Metrodome and throughout the Upper Midwest.
After being dominated in the first half offensively, Daunte Culpepper came to life with the best half of football of the season. In the second half alone, he completed 17 of 23 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, as well as scrambling three times for 33 yards.
The game featured one of the great QB duals in recent memory. Brett Favre finished the game with a passer rating of 121.6, while Culpepper finished with a rating of 123.1.
The Vikings made a defensive adjustment in the second half to double-team Donald Driver. After catching six passes for 101 yards in the first half, Driver had just two catches for 13 yards in the second half.
Favre was forced to spread the ball around, and he did so to perfection. Nine different players had two or more catches for the Packers.
The Vikings didn't punt in the second half.
Mewelde Moore scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter on a pass from Culpepper.
Koren Robinson averaged 29.4 yards on kickoff returns Sunday, including a 72-yarder and a 25-yarder in the final 30 seconds to set up the game-winning field goal.
Edinger's 56-yard field goal broke the old record of Jan Stenrud, who hit a 54-yard field goal in 1984.
Culpepper became just the 11th quarterback all-time to throw for more than 20,000 yards in his first seven seasons, which includes not playing as a rookie in 1999. He joins some pretty elite company – Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Drew Bledsoe, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Favre, Jim Everett, Boomer Esiason, John Elway and Ken O'Brien.
Chris Liwienski started his 70th consecutive game at guard Sunday, passing David Dixon for second all-time for Vikings guards. However, he remains 100 games shy of the team record held by Randall McDaniel.
Jermaine Wiggins set a franchise record in the third quarter by catching his 100th pass in his 20th game as a Viking. The past records were held by Rickey Young, who hit the century mark in 21 games and Randy Moss, who did it in 22 games.
Favre finished the first half with a passer rating of 148.0 – completing 16 of 19 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. In contrast, Culpepper threw just eight passes in the first half, completing six for 52 yards.
The Packers finished the first half with a 254-69 advantage in total yards gained.
The Vikings defense kept Ahman Green from a being a factor in the first half. As a team, the Packers averaged just 1.9 yards a carry in the first half, with Green running 12 times for 28 yards. Mewelde Moore has 26 yards on six carries.
With 2:00 left in the first half, Favre threw his first incompletion after completing his first 13 passes.
With his second touchdown of the game, Favre helped the Packers build a 14-0 lead – the fifth time this season that the Vikings have trailed by double digits.
Keith Newman was injured in the second quarter after being undercut by teammate Ralph Brown.
The Vikings used their third center of the season when Melvin Fowler got the start. He struggled early, giving Culpepper a bad snap on a shotgun formation that forced Culpepper to scramble and a bad snap on a fourth-and-inches play that caused a turnover.
On the aborted fourth-down play, the ball rolled five yards and was recovered by Nate Burleson, who tried to run for the first down. But the referees inexplicably called the play dead when Burleson touched it, despite not being down or touched by another player.
The Packers' injury-depleted wide receiver corps took another hit early in the second quarter when Robert Ferguson, who was starting as a replacement for Javon Walker, went down with a serious left knee injury. Ferguson knew immediately that the injury was serious, as he clutched his knee and immediately signaled the sideline training staff to come out.
Thanks to three sacks, the Vikings had a net of minus-14 yards passing in the first quarter.
Michael Bennett's demotion on the depth chart was apparent. He had just one carry in the first half and saw most of his action on the kick coverage team.
The scoreless first quarter was the second straight game in which neither team put up points, and the third time in the last four games that the Vikings have failed to score in the first quarter.
The last time the Vikings had a home game, the team did pregame introductions of the defense, which some media types construed as a ploy to avoid the potential of the offense – more specifically Daunte Culpepper – being booed by the home fans. Sunday vs. the Packers, the team took it one step further – introducing the cheerleaders instead of the offense or defense.
There may have been an indication early on that things weren't quite in sync at the Metrodome. Not only did the singer of the National Anthem get confused and repeat a verse, the Jumbotron that is supposed to help those who can't remember the words put up verses in the wrong order – leaving fans to their own devices to get it right.
Leave it those wacky Packers fans. Several fans in green and gold garb donned skipper's hats – a shot at the Vikings' boat fiasco.
The attendance Sunday was 64,278 – the 79th straight sellout at the Metrodome.