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Oct 2, 2014 10:07 PM

Packers lead Vikings 28-0 at halftime

The Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Julius Peppers returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, Aaron Rodgers threw for three scores, and the Green Bay Packers led the Minnesota Vikings 28-0 at halftime Thursday night.

Dropped back in coverage, Peppers picked off a pass over the middle from a pressured Christian Ponder. The 34-year-old Peppers veered left across the field and waited for blocks before chugging the final 10 yards along the sideline to give Green Bay a 21-0 lead with 7:06 left in the second quarter.

Peppers, the Packers' prized free-agent acquisition, stopped for a second in the end zone before safety Morgan Burnett came up and pointed at the stands. Peppers took his first Lambeau Leap.

Peppers became the first player in NFL history with 100 sacks and 10 interceptions.

Things only got worse for Ponder, who started at quarterback with rookie Teddy Bridgewater out with a sprained left ankle.

Jamari Lattimore intercepted Ponder's pass over the middle on Minnesota's next drive, setting up Rodgers' 11-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams to give Green Bay a four-touchdown lead with 4:55 left in the half.

Rodgers was 9 of 14 for 112 yards, including a 66-yard scoring strike to Jordy Nelson in the first quarter.

Rodgers found Nelson off play-action, and the NFL's leading receiver hauled in the pass at the 20. He easily outraced safety Harrison Smith into end zone for the Packers' second touchdown.

Rodgers also connected with Randall Cobb for an 8-yard touchdown pass set up by three straight handoffs to Eddie Lacy, who had a season-high 59 yards alone in the first 15 minutes. Cobb scored his league-leading sixth touchdown of the season.

Green Bay's league-worst run defense also got off to decent start, holding Minnesota's Matt Asiata to 52 yards on 12 carries.

Minnesota's only venture past midfield didn't go well. Burnett forced Asiata to fumble after an 11-yard run, and Green Bay's Casey Hayward recovered the Vikings' third consecutive turnover at the 34 late in the second quarter.

Ponder, making his first start since Dec. 3, couldn't get anything going through the air with the Packers applying pressure. He was 8 of 18 for 60 yards.

Ponder is Minnesota's third starting quarterback of the year, following Matt Cassel and Bridgewater. Cassel is out for the season with a broken left foot.

The Packers had three sacks in the half, including 1 1/2 for Mike Daniels.

Green Bay had the only injury of note after defensive lineman Datone Jones left with an ankle injury. His return was questionable.


AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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