MINNEAPOLIS–The Packers and Vikings will face each other again next weekend, in Lambeau Field, in the wild-card round of the playoffs, following a 37-34 Vikings win in the Metrodome on Sunday.
Trailing 20-10 at halftime, the Packers cut their deficit to 20-17 when Aaron Rodgers completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings to cap the Packers’ opening drive of the second half.
Minnesota roared back on a drive that involved a critical replay review and a second-and-27 play the Vikings converted on a 27-yard run by Adrian Peterson. The Vikings moved their lead to 27-17 when Christian Ponder flipped a 2-yard touchdown pass to Peterson.
The Packers stormed back with an 87-yard touchdown drive, the big play of which was a 73-yard completion from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. The touchdown play, an 8-yard throw from Rodgers to James Jones, was first ruled a fumble and a Vikings recovery in the end zone. Replay review awarded the Packers a touchdown, but not before some tense moments after Coach Mike McCarthy tossed his challenge flag unnecessarily. It resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty but did not disallow the touchdown. Referee Mike Carey explained the review had already begun when McCarthy tossed his challenge flag.
Trailing 27-24, the Packers tied the game on a 40-yard Mason Crosby field goal early in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Ponder, not Peterson, made the big play. His 65-yard completion to Jarius Wright caught the Packers by surprise and was the big play in a go-ahead touchdown drive. On third down, Ponder pitched a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mike Jenkins, and the Vikings led, 34-27.
Facing a must-score possession, Rodgers moved the Packers slowly but surely down the field as the clock ticked toward the two-minute warning. A pass interference penalty against the Vikings put the ball on the 2-yard line, from where Nelson caught a back-shoulder throw for a touchdown that tied the game, 34-34, with 2:54 to play.
That’s when the excitement began.
The Vikings took possession at their 28. Two failed plays left Ponder to face a third-and-11. Following the two-minute warning, Ponder found Jenkins alone on the sideline for 25 yards and a first down at the Packers 48.
At that point, the clock favored the Vikings, who would try to move into field goal range. Peterson seven yards on first down, and the clock ticked. Peterson rushed for four more and a first down, and the clock ticked.
That’s when Peterson won the game. He burst off left tackle for 26 yards and with three seconds to play, rookie Blair Walsh booted a 29-yard, walk-off field goal.
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