The streak is over.
The Vikings made their share of mistakes in the third quarter, but in the end it was a 29-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson and a missed field goal by Green Bay's Mason Crosby with 26 seconds left that gave Brad Childress his first win against the Green Bay Packers as a head coach.
Behind 192 yards rushing from Peterson – which gave him 1,015 for the season – the Vikings came away with a 28-27 win in the Metrodome after failing to beat the Packers in the previous five meetings.
Minnesota pulled out to a 21-10 lead after their first possession of the second half, but a mistake-filled third quarter nearly derailed their fun, as an interception return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown quickly put Green Bay in the lead, one they held until Peterson broke free around the right edge for a 29-yard touchdown to draw the Vikings into a first-place tie with the Chicago Bears at 5-4 in the NFC North after the Bears lost to the undefeated Tennessee Titans.
Peterson had a workhorse day, rushing 30 times, but it was his 29-yarder that was the longest "All Day" and gave the Vikings the eventual win, despite quarterback Gus Frerotte throwing three interceptions.
The sequence of events had Frerotte entering the press room feeling relief and saying, "This could have been a lot harder," a reference to getting a win despite three interceptions, and Peterson coming to the podium with his first word, "Tired."
The Vikings defense probably didn't feel as tired. It limited Green Bay to 184 yards of total offense and allowed only one third-down conversion out of 11 Packers attempts. Still, it was the big mistakes – an interception and a punt return for touchdowns – that made the game as close as it was and allowed the Packers to come within feet of stealing another win with a field-goal attempt that went wide right from 52 yards out.
The Vikings deferred after winning the toss and it paid off, as the defense stopped the Packers in three downs and the offense received tremendous field position with a low punt and 20-yard return. Chester Taylor picked up the initial third down with a reaching grab-and-run for 13 yards, and Peterson made it goal-to-go with consecutive runs of 10 and 7 yards. While Frerotte misfired and was nearly intercepted on his first try to Sidney Rice, the two connected on the next play for a 3-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 9:01 to play in the first quarter.
While the defense did its job again, Frerotte threw a costly interception to Charles Woodson on his next pass and the Packers took full advantage. Ryan Grant pounded the ball up the middle and to the right with three consecutive runs for a combined 21 yards before the Packers went to the air. First it was Greg Jennings for 15 yards, then Donald Driver for 11 before Grant finished it with a 1-yard run to knot the game at 7 with 4:01 to play in the first quarter.
The Vikings answered with an 11-play drive that started with Peterson running for 13 yards. However, they needed an illegal-contact penalty on Al Harris to convert the first third down of the drive. From there, Taylor took the ball to midfield with a second-down reception. Bobby Wade and Peterson combined for one more first down, but eventually the Vikings would have to settle for 54-yard Ryan Longwell field goal to give them a 10-7 lead with 12:56 to play in the first half.
The defense gave the Vikings their next points when a holding call backed the Pack up to the 10-yard line and Kevin Williams stripped Rodgers of the ball. The quarterback recovered it but unloaded an illegal forward pass from the end zone, resulting in a safety for a 12-7 Minnesota lead less than three minutes into the second quarter.
While the teams traded punts on their next five combined possessions, the Vikings were slowly winning the battle of field position. With less than a minute left in the half, Allen took advantage of the situation and chased down Rodgers in the end zone for a 9-yard sack and another safety for the Vikings, their second of the game, to give them a 14-7 lead with 44 second left.
The scoring wouldn't end there, however, as Frerotte's accuracy was an issue again. When going for a slant to Bernard Berrian, the pass was behind the receiver and cornerback Tramon Williams won the battle for the ball and returned it to the Minnesota 40-yard line. With a series of short passes, the Packers moved into field goal range and Crosby rewarded the final minute of play with a 47-yard field goal as time in the first half expired with a 14-10 Vikings lead.
The second started with a flavor of the Vikings assuming control of the game, which they did to start. Taking the first possession of the second half, Peterson picked up one first down with consecutive runs and Wade moved the chains again with an 11-yard reception. But once the ball was across midfield, it was a short pass that Chester Taylor turned into paydirt when he stopped and LB Desmond Bishop overran the play. Taylor turned upfield and beat the pursuit to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown and a 21-10 lead.
But the rest of the third quarter was a mistake-prone stretch for the Vikings' special teams and offense.
On their next possession, they got the ball on their own 35-yard line, but a 47-yard field goal attempt from Longwell went wide right. Frerotte followed that with an interception to safety Nick Collins on the Vikings' next offensive play, and Collins wove through traffic for a 59-yard touchdown that made it 21-17 with 5:21 to play in the third quarter.
And it didn't take Green Bay long to overtake the lead. When the Vikings went three-and-out on their next possession, Will Blackmon burned the Vikings again. After returning a third-quarter punt for a touchdown in the season opener, he did it once more, this time taking it back 65 yards for a 24-21 lead with 3:28 to play in the fourth quarter.
The teams exchanged punts as the game turned to the fourth quarter, and the Vikings took a big risk with nine minutes to play when Taylor failed to reach the sticks on a third-and-1 rush at the Vikings' own 41-yard line. The Vikings initially lined up to punt, then challenged the spot, which was upheld, and decided to go for the first down anyway. Peterson was stuff, fumbled, and the Packers had prime field position on the Minnesota 41-yard line.
They picked up one first down and Crosby extended their lead to 27-21 with a 40-yard field goal with 5:56 to play.
While Peterson failed to convert on fourth-and-1 on the previous drive, he shouldered the load on the Vikings' game-winning drive. It started with consecutive runs for a combined 9 yards, with Wade picking up the first down on a 5-yard out. Peterson took charge of the next three plays, getting a 2-yard run and consecutive receptions of 16 and 8 yards to the 29-yard line. On the next play, he found daylight around right end and needed only to beat the safety to the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown and a 28-27 lead with 2:22 to play.
But in the Packers-Vikings rivalry, nothing seems to come easy. On opening play of the ensuing drive, Ellis Wyms knocked a Rodgers pass high into the air and Driver still came away with a 19-yard reception to the Vikings 40-yard line. The Packers tried to play field position from there, running Grant twice and completing a 3-yard pass to Driver to the 34-yard line. But settling for a long field attempt backfired when Crosby's 52-yarder sailed just outside the right upright to preserve the Vikings' 28-27 win.
Despite downplaying the 0-5 record to the Packers heading into the game, the win obviously held a special place in Childress' heart. He said after the game that the game ball might find special placement, but the better placement for the Vikings is their spot atop the division after an 0-2 start to the season.
Vikings end Packers' streak, 28-27
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