Halftime: Vikings cut into Packers lead just before half, down 24-17
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings produced 10 offensive points, but remain close as they trail the Green Bay Packers 24-17 at halftime in the Metrodome.
Rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kickoff back 109 yards for a touchdown, his second return for a score this season. Patterson's return ties the longest in NFL history.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tossed two touchdown passes to receiver Jordy Nelson, the only healthy starting receiving threat on Sunday night. His second broke the 10-10 tie as defensive coordinator Alan Williams sent cornerback Marcus Sherels on a blitz and Rodgers picked apart the Greenway-Nelson mismatch as he outran safety coverage en route to a 76-yard touchdown catch.
Last in the NFL in time of possession, the Vikings lived up to their ranking in the first half. Aided by Patterson's return, the Vikings defense was on the field for 15:48 of the first 19 minutes on Sunday night. The Vikings allowed seven straight third- or fourth-down conversion attempts by the Packers to open the game.
The Packers finished 8-of-10 on those attempts in the first half.
Content to take a seven-point deficit into the locker room, the Vikings punted it away under the two-minute mark before halftime. Packers cornerback Micah Hyde, who missed Patterson on his touchdown return, returned the punt 93 yards for a score and the 24-10 lead.
Aided by a defensive pass interference call on Packers cornerback Tramon Williams, quarterback Christian Ponder led the first touchdown scoring drive in just 1:26 before halftime. Running back Adrian Peterson scored on the eight-yard run with 10 seconds left.
In the first game against his former team, receiver Greg Jennings did not haul in a catch under the waning seconds before halftime. Jennings was left waving his arms on a few open routes as Ponder proved to be just as inconsistent in his return to the starting lineup.
Safety Jamarca Sanford left the game in the second quarter and is questionable to return with a groin injury. The Vikings are now playing two reserve safeties in Andrew Sendejo and Mistral Raymond as starter Harrison Smith is on injured reserve-to return with a foot injury.