Sun Sentinel
National Football League
PRESEASON
12345
REGULAR SEASON
12345
678910
1112131415
1617   
PLAYOFFS
123PBSB
 
         === Packers neutralize Peterson, beat Ponder-less Vikings ===
 
 Green  Bay, WI (Sports  Network) - Aaron Rodgers threw for a touchdown and the
 Green  Bay Packers  took  advantage of  a short-handed  Vikings  team to  oust
 Minnesota from the playoffs, 24-10, in an NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field.
 
 John  Kuhn had a rushing and receiving score for the Packers, who will play at
 San Francisco next Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in the divisional round.
 
 Rodgers  completed 23-of-33  passes  for  274 yards  and  the  Packers tied  a
 postseason NFL record by having 10 players make a reception.
 
 "Our  defense  played great," Rodgers  said. "Our  defense tonight played at a
 championship level and that's what you need in the playoffs."
 
 The  Vikings played  without starting  quarterback Christian  Ponder, who  was
 inactive due to a right elbow injury. Ponder was hurt last Sunday in a regular
 season-ending  37-34  win over  the Packers  when he was  hit by safety Morgan
 Burnett on a blitz.
 
 "It  just wouldn't  have been smart to  put him at risk," Vikings coach Leslie
 Frazier said. "It wasn't the right thing to do."
 
 Joe Webb, who had taken just three snaps all season, started in Ponder's place
 and  was erratic  through the  air.  A sixth-round  draft pick  in 2010,  Webb
 completed  11-of-30  passes for  180 yards  with a TD  and an interception. He
 also had seven carries for 68 yards.
 
 Adrian Peterson,  who rushed this season for 2,097 yards, the second-most in a
 season in NFL history, had  99 yards on 22 carries. Peterson ran for 199 yards
 and a TD in the regular season finale.
 
 "Adrian Peterson does a great job at extending runs. I thought our defense was
 extremely  disciplined. It  was  a  big factor  tonight,"  Vikings coach  Mike
 McCarthy said.
 
 Prior  to Saturday, Webb's  other three snaps came at the end of a blowout win
 over Tennessee in Week 5. Webb rushed twice for a total of 22 yards during the
 game-opening drive. Peterson carried the ball six times and Blair Walsh kicked
 a 33-yard field goal.
 
 But  it  was all Packers  after that  until Minnesota scored  a late TD in the
 final quarter.
 
 The Vikings didn't record a passing first down until the third quarter and had
 just  six net  yards through  the air  in the  first half.  By that  time, the
 NFC North champions had a 17-3 lead.
 
 Minnesota's  offense  didn't cross the  Green Bay 35  in the second half until
 Webb's 50-yard TD strike to Michael Jenkins with 3:39 remaining.
 
 The  Packers  grabbed a 7-3  lead after  culminating an 11-play, 82-yard drive
 with  a 9-yard  run from  DuJuan  Harris with  28  seconds left  in the  first
 quarter.  He was  ruled down  inside the  1,  but the  call on  the field  was
 reversed  after McCarthy  threw the challenge flag. Harris was able to stretch
 the ball over the plane of the goal line before his knee touched the ground.
 
 The  Vikings made a big defensive stand late in the second quarter and limited
 the  Packers  to a 20-yard  field goal from Mason  Crosby with 3:25 left. Greg
 Jennings  had a  32-yard reception down the  left sideline to the 2, but after
 Jermichael  Finley dropped a  pass in the back of the end zone on second down,
 Kuhn was stopped short of the goal line for the second time in three plays.
 
 Kuhn, though, did reach the end zone with 38 seconds to go in the half on a 3-
 yard  run. Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson twice in the final two minutes,
 the  latter when  the 2011 NFL MVP  rolled to his right and threw perfectly to
 the  3  along the  right sideline  for a  23-yard gain.  Two plays later, Kuhn
 crashed off right guard for a score.
 
 The  Packers had 11  first downs passing in the first two quarters, while Webb
 was 3-of-12 for 22 yards in the opening 30 minutes.
 
 The  initial passing first down for the Vikings came with nearly eight minutes
 left  in  the third,  but by  that time  the Packers  were three touchdowns in
 front.  That's  because Rodgers  capped a  12-play, 80-yard  trek to start the
 second  half with a  9-yard TD pass to Kuhn for a 24-3 cushion. The score came
 on  the  play immediately  after the Vikings  were whistled for  12 men on the
 field during a field goal attempt.
 
 Webb  finally connected with Jerome Simpson for 13 yards for a first down. But
 on  4th-and-3 later in the drive, Clay Matthews sacked Webb, stripped the ball
 away and came up with the recovery at the Green Bay 45.
 
 Webb's  inaccuracy throughout the game was evident, and his deep pass to Devin
 Aromashodu  was  picked off by Sam  Shields at the  Green Bay 8 in the closing
 seconds of the third quarter.
 
 Only  61  seconds into the fourth,  Marcus Sherels dropped Tim Masthay's punt,
 but  the Packers  couldn't take advantage of the good field position following
 the miscue.
 
 Webb  threw incomplete  on 4th-and-4 from the  Green Bay 43 with 6 1/2 minutes
 left,  but  following a punt,  the Vikings got within  two TDs when Webb found
 Jenkins alone down the right sideline.
 
 Green  Bay  recovered the ensuing  kickoff at  the 20 and  ran out most of the
 remaining time.
 
 "They  played some  good defense," said Peterson, who also gained 210 yards on
 the  ground in the first meeting on Dec. 2. "They played more patient defense.
 They  stayed on  the backside to take  away the cutback and they played slower
 instead of being real aggressive and over-pursuing plays. With that, they were
 able to bottle up the run game."
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  49ers, the  NFC West  champions,  had lost  eight straight  times to  the
 Packers, including the playoffs, before beating Green Bay in the first week of
 this  season at Lambeau Field ... Green Bay entered Saturday night with losses
 in  lost  four of its  previous six home playoff  games. That included a 31-17
 defeat  to the  Vikings in the wild  card round in the 2004 season ... Packers
 defensive  back  Charles Woodson  returned from  a nine-game  absence due to a
 broken  collarbone  and had  four tackles...  Webb is the  first QB who didn't
 throw  a pass  in the regular season  to start an NFL postseason game since at
 least 1950.
 
 
 
 
 01/06 00:44:53 ET