The Green Bay Packers will take on Washington in the NFC wildcard round Sunday at 3:40 p.m. CT.
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2nd half and postgame
Postgame story (by the Associated Press)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings are the new kings of the NFC North.
Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards for a score in a 20-13 win on Sunday night over the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings (11-5), claiming their first division title since 2009, will host the Seattle Seahawks for a wild-card playoff game next Sunday. The Packers (10-6) will travel to Washington, also Sunday, after watching their four-year reign atop the NFC North end.
The upstart Vikings survived despite a shaky finish in hostile territory. The defense knocked away a desperation pass in the end zone from Aaron Rodgers on fourth down as time expired.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby forced a fumble on Cordarrelle Patterson's potentially field-flipping 70-yard kickoff return with 5:21 left. But the Packers' next drive ended with Rodgers being intercepted in the end zone by Xavier Rhodes.
The Vikings got the sterling defensive effort needed on the road to win their first game at Lambeau Field since 2009. Coach Mike Zimmer smiled and raised both arms in the air after Rodgers' pass was knocked down in the end zone.
A handful of Vikings later came back on to the field to take pictures. They'll remember this night for a while.
Peterson ran for 67 yards on 19 carries. He gave the Vikings a scare after leaving midway through the third quarter with a lower back injury before returning late in the fourth quarter.
Teddy Bridgewater was just 10 of 19 for 99 yards, and the passing game was rendered largely ineffective. But the defense snuffed out Green Bay's dysfunctional offense at nearly every turn until the frantic fourth quarter. Everson Griffen had two sacks.
The dormant Packers scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a 16-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers, and a 43-yard field goal by Crosby.
But a slow start doomed the Packers once again, as did a sluggish running game.
Aaron Rodgers finished 28 of 44 for 291 yards with a touchdown and interception. Running back Eddie Lacy had a strong start, but finished with just 34 yards on 13 carries.
Peterson and the Vikings rushed right past them to take the NFC North.
Minnesota 20, Green Bay 13
Crosby 43 yd FG
Minnesota 20, Green Bay 10
A. Rodgers-R. Rodgers 16 yd TD pass
Minnesota 20, Green Bay 3
Munnerlyn fumble return TD
Minnesota 13, Green Bay 3
Peterson 3 yd TD run
Datone Jones has a neck injury. He is out.
Minnesota 6, Green Bay 3
Walsh 32 yd FG
Green Bay 3, Minnesota 3
Crosby 28 yd FG
Minnesota 3, Green Bay 0
Walsh 39 yd FG
The Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs. That much is certain. How far they go could depend on the result of tonight's de facto NFC North championship game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The playoff picture is pretty well set, except for where and whom the Packers will play in next weekend's wildcard round.
There are three possible opponents, with two possible destinations.
For the Packers to play at home, however, they must claim a division championship.
For a team that was
shellacked by a Super Bowl contender last week,
that had every weakness exposed under the desert skies of Arizona, that may be a tall task.
It's a team that is 4-5 the last nine games, but with
one of those wins coming by a three score margin Minneapolis last month against the same team they face tonight.
Win tonight, become kings of the north, and Lambeau Field will be the locale next week, possibly making the job of finding a way to Santa Clara a little bit easier.
More importantly, perhaps the goal may be discovering the way within themselves to make the arduous January trek.
Don't just watch this game to see if the Packers will claim their fifth straight division crown.
Watch to see if they can begin a one-month climb of overcoming a lot of doubts, and finding they have the championship mettle that few outside the locker room perceive they have.
Tonight could determine a lot toward that ultimate goal. Stay tuned.