Packers outlast Vikings 33-27 to remain unbeaten

Updated: 2011-10-25 08:03

(China Daily)

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Packers outlast Vikings 33-27 to remain unbeaten

San Diego Chargers free safety Eric Weddle (32) eyes New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) after being upended after a long gain in the second quarter of their National Football League game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday. The Jets won 27-21. [Photo/Agencies]

Rodgers leads Green Bay to 7-0 record; It's best start to a season since 1962

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - Despite the disparate records, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers found plenty of competition from Christian Ponder in the fearless rookie's first start for the Vikings.

Rodgers was up for the challenge again, and the defending Super Bowl champion still didn't flinch. Rodgers kept Green Bay unbeaten with three touchdowns and 335 yards passing, holding off Minnesota 33-27 on Sunday.

"There's not a lot of panic in this team. We've been down a couple times at halftime. Just a lot of focus," said Rodgers, who completed his first 13 passes and finished 24 for 30 on another near-unstoppable afternoon against a depleted secondary.

Packers outlast Vikings 33-27 to remain unbeaten

"We expect nothing less," said Greg Jennings, who had seven catches for 147 yards. He jogged in for a 79-yard score on the second play of the second half after an egregiously blown coverage, giving the Packers their first lead at 20-17.

Ponder was picked off twice in the third quarter by Charles Woodson, who almost grabbed a couple more interceptions, but he kept the Vikings in it from start to finish after completing a 71-yard pass play on his first snap.

Adrian Peterson helped him out by rushing 24 times for 175 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (1-6), but James Starks put the game away with two big gains for first downs before the 2-minute warning and another one right after. He had 75 yards on 13 carries for the Packers (7-0).

"It's frustrating to come out against the defending champs and be that close and not to come up with the win," Peterson said. "Give credit to those guys. They made plays when they needed to, and we ended up on the wrong side of it."

Mason Crosby had four field goals for the Packers, including a franchise record 58-yarder, one of many delights among some anxious moments for the thousands of Packers fans in attendance who made the trip across the border.

"We're not going to swing from a rope around here as far as extremes, one way or another," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're very happy being 7-0, stating the obvious, but to a man we know we can play better. That's what's exciting."

This rivalry is still fierce, as evidenced by a couple of early skirmishes.

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, frustrated by some unwelcome contact from Packers guard T.J. Lang during one second-quarter play, gave Lang a swift kick to the groin area, a caught-on-camera personal foul that drew a penalty and is likely to bring Robison a fine.

Ponder's first foray against the Packers, despite the mistakes, showed flash and promise.

"They could be 0-14, 0-15. It doesn't matter," Jennings said. "When they play in this building, you're going to get their best shot."

Ponder went 13 for 32, but he never looked rattled and finished with 219 yards and two touchdowns. Ponder also ran four times for 31 yards. He found Michael Jenkins for a score with 7:49 left, after a rare three-and-out by the Packers, to cut the lead to six points. He had the ball back with plenty of time to win it before a couple of errant heaves effectively ended the comeback.

Green Bay has quite a grip on the NFL right now, with Rodgers and his rocket right arm leading the way.

"He's putting together an unbelievable year, and he's playing extremely well," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "You have to give him a lot of credit. He's really developed over the last few years into a top-flight quarterback."

The Vikings have struggled in the secondary at full strength, and they weren't even close to that. Safety Jamarca Sanford was recovering from a concussion. Antoine Winfield was still on the sideline with a stiff neck, and fellow cornerback Chris Cook - their best player in pass coverage - was not even at the stadium. He was in the county jail, for an alleged domestic assault.

Associated Press

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