It sure wasn’t pretty, but the only thing the Green Bay Packers care about is that the final score showed they scored more points than the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers held off Minnesota 23-14 and used every resource to grind out a win that vaulted them back into first in the NFC North, ahead on tiebreakers after Chicago lost to drop them to 8-4, tied with Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers threw for 286 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and the James Starks added the first rushing touchdown for the Packers in almost two months. Despite a valiant effort from Adrian Peterson, Minnesota lost its second straight game, and fifth out of the last seven. Green Bay took control early, and was able to hold on late.
Early on, the Packers took it to the Vikings as Aaron Rodgers hit James Jones on a 32 yard touchdown strike, as Jones outfought the defense for the ball in the endzone to put Green Bay up early. A field goal added to their lead, but the second quarter belonged to Minnesota. A long drive led to a seven yard touchdown from Christian Ponder to Kyle Rudolph, and after a few stalled drives Adrian Peterson submitted one of the runs of the year. On third and one from the Minnesota 18, Peterson took a handoff right and broke two tackles to get to the sideline. Instead of going out of bounds, he was able to turn upfield and outrun the defense on his way to an 82 yard touchdown, the longest of his career. On the day, he ran for 210 yards and showed why he was the best runningback in the game before tearing his ACL last year. After halftime, though, Green Bay took control once again. Mason Crosby hit two more field goals and Starks scored on a 22 yard run to seal the victory for the Packers. The defense showed up again after being largely absent last week against the Giants, intercepting two Ponder passes and holding Minnesota to 14 points on the day. Green Bay is certainly back on track.
In addition to the victory, Green Bay can celebrate the fact that Greg Jennings made a few big plays and was able to escape without re-aggravating his injury. They are also expecting to get Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson back soon, right in time for the playoffs. The downside, though, was that Jordy Nelson had to leave the game with a hamstring injury and the offense did not look efficient. Perhaps this is due to incorporating new facets of the offense again, but either way the Packers have to settle their issues soon. Up next is a game against the visiting Detroit Lions on Sunday Night, as the Packers hope to stay on a roll to get some momentum before the playoffs. Stay tuned for more Packers news and enjoy your week!