The Green Bay Packers' offense was on a roll on Sunday night on the fast turf of the Metrodome, racking up 37 points in a rout of the Minnesota Vikings. While Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Eddie Lacy were the stars on the night, other contributors like James Starks and Jarrett Boykin made their presence felt as the Packers moved to 5-2 on the season.
The game started off with a thud for the Packers, though, with the special teams being the culprit. Tim Masthay couldn't quite get the opening kickoff out the back of the end zone, and Cordarrelle Patterson made him pay. Patterson took the kick 109 yards to the house, shaking a few tacklers along the way, to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead just seconds into the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Johnathan Franklin apparently wanted to make a statement and took the ball out of the end zone from 9 yards deep himself, but he was tackled at the ten. The Packers' offense, undeterred, ran a methodical 14-play drive to tie the game. After a few good passes to Jarrett Boykin early, Aaron Rodgers found Jordy Nelson in the back of the end zone with a perfect pass to tie the game at 7. The Packers converted four third downs on the drive, which took 7:24 off the clock.
The Vikings picked up one first down on the ensuing drive, but was forced to punt the ball back to the Packers. The Packers converted their first three third downs on the drive (one thanks to an offsides penalty) before getting stuffed on a 3rd-and-1 run play. However, they kept the offense on the field for fourth down from the 36 yard line, converting on a pass from Rodgers to John Kuhn. A 17-yard run by Lacy and a sack of Rodgers on 3rd-and-9 set the stage for a Mason Crosby field goal from 30 yards to take a 10-7 Packers lead.
The Vikings tied the game with a field goal on the next drive, which was extended by a personal foul penalty on Datone Jones. However, the Packers struck back quickly on the next drive. A ridiculous throw by Rodgers to Nelson over the middle was on the money, with Nelson making a fantastic catch. He shook off a tackler over the muddle and took off down the left sideline, outrunning the Vikings' defenders for a 76-yard score to make the game 17-10.
After a three-and-out by the Vikings, the Packers' offense didn't even get the ball back. Micah Hyde shut the Metrodome up by fielding the punt at the seven yard line and making a great cut up the middle. Once he did, he angled away from the punter, Jeff Locke, and sprinted down the sideline for a 93-yard touchdown to put the Packers up by two touchdowns shortly before halftime.
However, there was too much time left for the Vikings' offense (I'm a little surprised I'm saying that too). They moved the ball a bit but were aided by a 26-yard pass interference penalty on Tramon Williams that gave Minnesota the ball at the 16-yard line with just under 30 seconds left. Adrian Peterson eventually scored shortly before the half to make the score 24-17 at halftime.
After deferring the coin toss initially, the Packers got the ball to the start the second half. Nelson was big again, this time picking up an easy 4th down conversion on 4th and 3 to keep a drive going around the 40-yard line. Eddie Lacy ran seven times for 46 yards on the drive, and finished it off with a one-yard touchdown plunge over the right side to extend the Packers' lead back up to two scores at 31-17.
After a holding penalty forced the Vikings into a three-and-out, the Packers continued their offensive onslaught. James Starks was the running back of choice this time, and he hit the line with authority, carrying the ball five times for 47 yards and a 25-yard touchdown to cap off the drive and extend the lead to 38-17.
The Packers added a pair of late field goals and the Vikings got a pair of garbage-time rushing touchdowns from Toby Gerhart and Christian Ponder to bring the final score to 44-31.
With their win, the Packers moved to 5-2 and held on to their half-game lead in the NFC North. The Vikings fell to 1-6 on the season.