Originally created 09/23/96

Packers surprised by Vikings



MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings are for real. And the Green Bay Packers are real beatable, at least away from Lambeau Field.

The Vikings hounded the NFL's top-rated quarterback and offense Sunday, upsetting the Packers 30-21 behind seven sacks and Robert Smith's 37-yard touchdown run with 4:13 remaining.

The win made Minnesota (4-0) the surprising NFC Central leader, and sent the Packers (3-1) to their 12th loss in their last 13 games on artificial turf. Green Bay is 21-4 at home under coach Mike Holmgren, but 4-19 on turf and the Packers never have won at the Metrodome in five trips under Holmgren.

Winning at Minnesota was a huge priority for Green Bay, which was looking for its best start since the 1966 team opened 4-0 on its way to a victory in the first Super Bowl.

But the Packers fell behind for the first time this season when Warren Moon's 20-yard pass to Qadry Ismail gave the Vikings a 14-7 halftime lead.

The Packers rallied from a 17-7 deficit early in the third quarter on an 80-yard touchdown catch by Don Beebe and George Koonce's 75-yard interception return. But Smith's 37-yard run over the right side against the league's second-rated run defense gave Minnesota a 24-21 lead.

Smith finished with 88 yards on 26 carries, and the defense took over once Smith gave it back the lead.

Favre lost his second fumble on the next possession when he was sacked by John Randle and Esera Tuaolo, leading to Scott Sisson's 44-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining.

Green Bay, which ran only 16 plays in the second half, failed to get a first down and turned the ball over on downs at its own 16 on its next-to-last drive. Minnesota then got Sisson's third field goal to clinch one of the biggest regular-season wins in coach Dennis Green's five seasons.

Randle and Martin Harrison had two sacks apiece for the Vikings, who played the final four minutes without Moon, who was limping and was replaced by Brad Johnson after Smith's go-ahead touchdown.

Moon completed 24 of 40 passes for 280 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jake Reed caught seven passes for 129 yards and a first-quarter touchdown.

Favre threw two touchdowns, the first of his career at the Metrodome, but he was just 14-for-27 for 198 yards and his second interception of the season.

While the Vikings harassed Favre, they also held Edgar Bennett to 33 yards on 11 carries.

The Packers ran only five plays in the third quarter but still outscored the Vikings 14-3 to erase the 14-7 halftime deficit.

After the first of Sisson's three field goals made it 17-7, Green Bay needed just one play to start its comeback. Favre threw a 5-yard pass to Beebe, who ran past Dewayne Washington and outraced the Vikings defense for an 80-yard touchdown.

On Minnesota's next possession, Koonce stepped in front of a short Moon pass and rumbled 75 yards for a 21-17 lead, barely staying in bounds as he alluded an attempted tackle by Moon.