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Associated Press
Green Bay’s Morgan Burnett reacts after one of his two interceptions at home against Minnesota on Sunday.

Packers pull into 1st-place tie

Interceptions help counter Vikings’ Peterson in victory

– If any more Green Bay receivers go down, the Packers could always use Morgan Burnett.

With Minnesota rolling behind Adrian Peterson, the Green Bay safety picked off Christian Ponder twice in the red zone in the second half Sunday. Mason Crosby converted the miscues into a pair of field goals, James Starks gave Green Bay its first touchdown on the ground in almost two months and the Packers overcame Peterson’s monster day for a 23-14 win.

“I thought Morgan Burnett’s interception in the third quarter in the end zone was the key play of game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It shifted the momentum.”

The victory was Green Bay’s 10th straight over an NFC North opponent and gave the Packers (8-4) a share of the division lead after Chicago lost to Seattle in overtime. The Packers and Bears play at Soldier Field on Dec. 16.

“I can’t say there are many Seattle fans in the locker room,” Aaron Rodgers said, “but we appreciate the help.”

The Packers lost in Seattle earlier this year on the Inaccurate Reception.

Peterson finished with 210 yards rushing, the most he’s had since blowing out his ACL and MCL last December. That included a career-long 82-yard touchdown that gave Minnesota a 14-10 lead at halftime.

Ponder didn’t help matters with his interceptions, one in the end zone and the other around the Green Bay 10.

The loss won’t cost Ponder his job, however. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he didn’t consider switching quarterbacks during the game and won’t consider such a move this week.

The Vikings (6-6) fell a game behind Seattle in the race for the second NFC wild card.

The Packers didn’t panic despite injuries to Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and T.J. Lang (ankle) leaving the offense scrambling and Peterson almost single-handedly wiping out Green Bay’s early 10-0 lead. He put the Vikings in great position to pad that lead, ripping off a 48-yarder on the first play of the second half that gave Minnesota the ball at the Green Bay 12.

But two plays later, Ponder got flushed out of the pocket. Rather than take the sack or run out of bounds, he heaved the ball into the end zone – and right into Burnett’s hands.

“I’d seen it was a pretty spiral, and I made sure I got my paws on it,” Burnett said.

Rodgers, who turned 29 Sunday, finished 27 of 35 for 286 yards.

“Everything’s right in front of us,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got to go win our home games and get a couple wins on the road.”

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