MINNEAPOLIS – Something finally went right for the Minnesota Vikings.

Paul Edinger kicked a career-long 56-yard field goal as time ran out, lifting momentum-starved Minnesota to a 23-20 victory over the stunned Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

After losing their last two games by a combined 58-13 score and allegations of sexual misconduct by several players on a boat party emerging, the Vikings (2-4) trailed 17-0 in the third quarter and appeared headed for another ugly defeat.

But Daunte Culpepper, who went 23-for-31 for 280 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, came to life – and Edinger came through with his third field goal of the game.

Green Bay’s Ryan Longwell tied it at 20 with 24 seconds remaining on a 39-yard kick after missing two earlier field goals. After the kickoff, Culpepper threw a 14-yard pass to Mewelde Moore and a 12-yard pass to Marcus Robinson – who stepped out and stopped the clock with 2 seconds left on the Packers’ 38.

Brett Favre played a near-flawless first half, but couldn’t rally Green Bay (1-5), finishing 28-for-36 for 315 yards and two scores. Carted off with knee injuries were receiver Robert Ferguson (second quarter) and running back Ahman Green (fourth quarter).

After an awful first half, the Minnesota offense woke up. With more time to throw, Culpepper looked as comfortable as he has all season. He found Robinson up the sideline for a 27-yard TD pass late in the third quarter and Moore for a 14-yard score – his first career touchdown – with 3:10 left to give the Vikings a 20-17 edge.

Instead of individual introductions, the Vikings took the field as a team before the game – perhaps trying to prove they’re still together after everything that’s happened.

Unity doesn’t score points, though, and Minnesota’s once-mighty offense continued finding new ways to mess up in the first half. Culpepper was constantly under pressure behind a leaky line that gave up five sacks, two of them on third down that ended first-quarter possessions.

Green Bay took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when Donald Driver made a 22-yard catch in the corner of the end zone by cradling the ball against his right elbow. The Vikings drove to the Packers’ 35-yard line, where Culpepper fumbled the snap on fourth-and-1. That gave the ball back to Green Bay on downs.

Using a 3-4 scheme for the second straight week, Minnesota actually played pretty decent defense – especially against the run, with big nose tackle Pat Williams having another disruptive afternoon.

But the Vikings left receivers open at the wrong times, and all Favre needs is a little bit of space. After struggling at the Metrodome throughout most of his career, Favre has been a lot better here lately – and he played flawlessly in the first half.

Driver broke four tackles on a 40-yard catch and run, setting up a 4-yard TD toss from Favre to Antonio Chatman late in the second quarter that put the Packers up 14-0. Koren Robinson returned the subsequent kickoff 72 yards, but Moore lost a fumble when he was stuffed in the backfield on the next play.

Green Bay gave Minnesota yet another chance, letting three receivers get behind the defense during a jump ball on the final play of the half – but Nate Burleson bobbled it and Travis Taylor couldn’t grab it before it hit the turf.

AP-ES-10-23-05 1628EDT


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