Originally created 11/22/05

MNF: Minnesota nips Green Bay



GREEN BAY, Wis. - Minnesota's offense isn't dead. With the steady hand of Brad Johnson, neither is the Vikings' season.

For the second time this season, Paul Edinger kicked a winning field goal against Green Bay, a 27-yarder as time expired that gave the Vikings a 20-17 win Monday night and keep their playoff hopes alive.

After struggling mightily on offense since quarterback Daunte Culpepper was lost for the season, the Vikings put together a solid showing behind Johnson with 196 yards passing and running back Mewelde Moore, who had 122 yards on 22 carries.

The 37-year-old Johnson set up Edinger's kick with a nine-play, 58-yard drive in the final 3 minutes and three seconds after Green Bay tied it at 17.

Minnesota coach Mike Tice shuffled his offensive line this week hoping to inject some life into the offense that struggled to just 137 yards last week against the Giants. He started 380-plus-pound Toniu Fonoti at left guard and Cory Withrow at center. It worked, for the most part.

Johnson was sacked five times, fumbling twice, and Minnesota couldn't muster much offense in the first half. But just like last week - when the Vikings returned a punt, kickoff and interception for touchdowns - they found other ways to score.

With Green Bay driving, Dovonte Edwards intercepted Brett Favre's pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown with just more than a minute left in the first half.

"It was exciting," Edwards said. "I had a dream actually last night that I would do something big today and it came true. Mike Tice said you need to dream, dream about making plays and that's what I did last night and it happened for me tonight."

The play was reviewed after Edwards and intended receiver Andrae Thurman crashed to the ground at the same time. But officials ruled Edwards was not down by contact before he got up and scored.

Favre atoned for the mistake seconds later, hitting Donald Driver for a 53-yard touchdown pass after the receiver beat defensive back Antoine Winfield and outran safety Darren Sharper - who spent his first eight years in Green Bay but was not resigned. Green Bay led 14-7 at the half.

Green Bay couldn't capitalize on Johnson's fumble early in the third quarter and was forced to punt, pinning the Vikings at their own 12. But Minnesota put together its best drive of the game, aided by two defensive penalties inside the Green Bay 10-yard line.

The second, a pass interference call in the end zone, put the ball at the 1-yard line. Ciatrick Fason then plunged into the end zone on his second attempt - Minnesota's first offensive touchdown in nine quarters.

Favre finished the game 20-for-33 for 227 yards and two touchdowns.

The win keeps the Vikings (5-5) afloat in its hunt for the postseason, two games behind NFC North leader Chicago (7-3). Meanwhile, the loss puts the Packers (2-8) on the verge of ending an impressive streak - they haven't had a losing season since Favre took over as the starter in 1992, a run of 13 years that's best in the league. They have to win out to avoid snapping that run, an unlikely task with Chicago (twice) and Seattle (8-2) left on the schedule.