Vikings 23, Packers 20
Nothing was going right for Minnesota until Coach Mike Tice tried a little negative reinforcement in the locker room.
Prodded by Tice's stern halftime speech, the Vikings came back from a 17-0 deficit in the third quarter to beat Green Bay, 23-20, on Sunday.
Paul Edinger kicked a franchise-record 56-yard field goal as time ran out, lifting momentum-starved Minnesota past the Packers.
"We just needed a win, no matter how we got it," said Marcus Robinson, who caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Daunte Culpepper in the third quarter to spur the comeback. "But we're still 2-4."
Such is life in the NFC North, where Minnesota is still only one game out of first place despite an awful start to the season -- and even Green Bay (1-5) remains in the race.
After losing their last two games by a combined 58-13 and after allegations of sexual misconduct by several players on a boat party emerged earlier this month, the Vikings appeared headed for another ugly defeat after a flawless first half by Packers quarterback Brett Favre.
But 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, the longest of his career.
"I took off running after it, like I was going to catch it or something," Edinger said. "I can't even describe it. It's a great feeling. I wish you could experience it."
By his estimation, Tice used a negative tone at the half for the first time in two years. He was pleased by what he saw.
"I thought they practiced with better emotion all week," Tice said. "I thought they studied better, harder, and I thought they heeded my warning and stayed home and off the streets."
Ryan Longwell tied it at 20 with 24 seconds remaining on a 39-yard field goal after missing two earlier kicks for the Packers.
"I thought we should have made them all," Longwell said. "It's frustrating."
After the kickoff, Culpepper threw a 14-yard pass to Mewelde Moore and a 12-yard pass to Robinson -- who stepped out and stopped the clock with two seconds left on the Green Bay 38.
Favre was busy thinking about overtime when he turned to watch Edinger's winner.
"I was already planning on winning the coin toss," said Favre, who finished 28 for 36 for 315 yards and two scores.
His teammates were just as shocked.
"I didn't think he was going to make it," wide receiver Donald Driver said. "He made the kick. Nothing I can do about it."
Though the Packers are playing better than they did in September, they returned to Wisconsin in much worse shape. Carted off with severe injuries were receiver Robert Ferguson (ankle, second quarter) and running back Ahman Green (knee, fourth quarter).
"This is the hand we're dealt, and these are the cards we have to play with," Green Bay Coach Mike Sherman said.