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Vikings Claim NFC North with 20-13 Win Over Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. —The road to the NFC North will go through Minnesota in 2016.

So will a Wild Card game next weekend.

Xavier Rhodes picked off Aaron Rodgers in the end zone on fourth-and-13 with 2:09 remaining to help the Vikings reclaim their grip on a 20-13 victory that was slipping because of a furious rally by the Packers.

Minnesota (11-5) will host Seattle (10-6) at the University of Minnesota.

Rhodes' first interception of the season still wasn't quite enough. The Vikings withstood one final drive by the Packers, who forced a punt with 58 seconds remaining. 

Green Bay faced fourth-and-2 at the Minnesota 38, squeezing in one final snap before the clock struck zeros. Rodgers tried to hit James Jones in the end zone, but Anthony Barr leapt up and knocked the ball to the cold turf.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer threw his hands up in celebration as his team held on for its first NFC North title since 2009.

Minnesota overcame a fumble on a 71-yard kickoff return with a defensive stand and erased an interception by Teddy Bridgewater when Everson Griffen forced a fumble by Rodgers that was recovered and returned by Captain Munnerlyn 55 yards for a touchdown that put the Vikings up 20-3 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.

Adrian Peterson scored the other touchdown for the Vikings, his 11th of the season and was able to celebrate the third rushing title of his career. 

The Vikings took chances early, dialing up a fake punt on the sixth offensive snap of the game, and took advantage of nice starting field position.

Adam Thielen took the direct snap from Kevin McDermott and took the ball wide to the left, picking up a block from rookie Edmond Robinson on Kennard Backman. Thielen picked up a slew of blocks down the field, too, and the play gained 41 yards to the Green Bay 21-yard line.

The drive, however, stalled there and ended with a 39-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.  

The Packers answered with a field goal of their own, a 28-yarder by Mason Crosby to end a 15-play drive that lasted 8:43.

Walsh finished the season with 34 field goals made to lead the NFL. Walsh made 35 field goals in 2012, to tie Gary Anderson's franchise record of 35 made in 1998.

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