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Favre guides Packers over Vikings

Nov 12, 2006 - 9:24 PM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Brett Favre finally got even with the Minnesota Vikings.

Favre threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 23-17 win over the Vikings in a battle of NFC North rivals.

The NFL's only three-time MVP, Favre had a losing record against the Vikings before Sunday's win, which put him at .500 all-time (14-14) vs. Minnesota.

While he remains only 5-10 in the Metrodome, Favre put on a vintage performance in carving up the Vikings' defense, including a go-ahead 82-yard TD pass to Donald Driver in the final minute of the first half. He finished 24-of-42 with no interceptions.

"When we have played here in the past at times, we were unable to close the deal," Favre said. "Considering how we were ineffective running the ball, I think it is maybe the best win we have had here."

Perhaps mindful of their past failures here, the Packers opted not to play conservatively and it paid off with the momentum-changing pass from Favre to Driver.

Trailing 14-10, Green Bay took possession on its 3 with 1:50 to play in the opening half. Electing not to run out the clock, Favre completed a 12-yard pass to rookie Greg Jennings on first down and two players later hooked up with Driver over the middle for a 17-14 lead with 48 seconds to play.

"My route was to take the middle and it was wide open," Driver said. "It was a great throw, and after that it was six."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he took a chance passing out of his own end zone because the Vikings had scored the only two touchdowns in the second quarter - both by Billy McMullen.

"My concern was that we lost momentum at that point of the game," McCarthy said. "Minnesota was going to have the ball to start the second half, and I really didn't want to go back-to-back series potentially giving them good field position right before the first half and then coming out in the second half with the ball.

"It was an aggressive move on our part. I thought Brett handled it exceptionally, especially being in the end zone taking a five-step drop on first down. That was really the big play to get the drive started to get us out of the hole."

Minnesota (4-5) never recovered, turning in its third dismal offensive outing in a row in absorbing its third consecutive loss.

In the second half alone, the Vikings got a first down on their first play from scrimmage and didn't get another until less than two minutes remained.

"We're not winning ballgames. We're not scoring enough points, but I do feel like we are running the right plays," Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson said. "We just have to be able to back it up play after play. If it wasn't for the negative plays, that's what killed us more than anything this year, and today it's the negative plays that put us in bad situations."

Many of those negative plays are coming from Johnson, was 18-of-30 for 257 yards, a touchdown, one interception and a fumble. Last week, the 38-year-old quarterback managed just 136 yards in a 9-3 loss at San Francisco, leading to speculation Johnson may lose his starting job.

Vikings coach Brad Childress is not ready to lay the blame on his quarterback.

"If I felt like those were wanton disregard for the football, that's one thing, but I don't feel that way," Childress said. "I just think offensively, we need to play better around Brad Johnson. Again, I'm not going to stick that on him.

"Are there plays that maybe he would have liked back? Sure there are, but I think basically those other 10 need to play better around him."

Dave Rayner kicked three field goals for the Packers (4-5), including one with 5:35 to play that forged a 23-14 lead.

Driver, who entered leading the NFC in receptions, hauled in six balls for 191 yards. Favre also connected with running back Noah Herron on a five-yard TD pass in the first quarter.

"A lot of people say he is old and washed up," Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said of Favre. "That guy can throw the ball. ... The guy has the strongest arm I have seen."

Favre now had 409 touchdown passes for his career, putting him within 11 of Dan Marino's all-time NFL mark.

McMullen scored on a 40-yard pass from Johnson and later recovered teammate Chester Taylor's fumble in the end zone.

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