MINNEAPOLIS -- Daunte Culpepper responded to last week's benching by beating the NFL's best team.
Culpepper threw two touchdowns and also ran for a score as the Minnesota Vikings snapped Green Bay's seven-game winning streak with a 31-21 win over the Packers on Sunday.
Last week, the Vikings star quarterback was booed by his home crowd and eventually yanked for Todd Bouman in a loss to the New York Giants. After a night of thinking, coach Mike Tice told Culpepper that he would start against Green Bay.
"It's a huge game for Daunte's confidence," Tice said.
The Minnesota defense, the second worst in the NFL, picked off Brett Favre three times and held Ahman Green to 71 yards rushing.
The Packers (8-2) have lost nine of 11 at the Metrodome and missed out on a chance to become the earliest team to clinch a division title in a 16-game season.
Michael Bennett ran for 130 yards on 20 carries for his fourth straight 100-yard game for the Vikings (3-7). His 62-yard run with just over two minutes left in the game set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Moe Williams -- his 10th of the year.
Randy Moss caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, and Culpepper was 13-for-26 for 217 yards. Culpepper did throw two interceptions and lost one of his three fumbles to give him a league-high 22 turnovers.
The Vikings were pleased with how Culpepper responded to being benched for the first time in his NFL career.
"It shows the kind of competitor that Culpepper is and it was amazing," said D'Wayne Bates, who caught Culpepper's second TD pass. "When Todd was doing well, (Culpepper) didn't pout, he didn't act like a little boy. He supported Todd."
Early in the fourth, Favre completed a third-and-10 pass to Donald Driver, whose catch and run turned into an 84-yard TD that tied the game at 21.
But the Vikings took a 24-21 lead on Gary Anderson's 32-yard field goal with 7:16 left and forced two straight three-and-outs before Bennett's run helped put the game away.
"We did have opportunities to win," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "I want them to be mad, I want them to be disappointed. But at the same time, be ready for next week."
Minnesota went up 14-0 barely eight minutes into the game and had 10 first downs to Green Bay's one in the first quarter.
Working without a huddle, Culpepper threw TD passes, a 29-yarder to Moss and an 18-yarder to Bates, on the Vikings' first two drives.
"It got us in a rhythm," Culpepper said. "The defense couldn't sub in and out and couldn't disguise very well."
Notes: Rookie S Jack Brewer's interception off Favre in the second quarter was the first of his career. ... Williams' set a Vikings record for most consecutive games with a rushing TD (7). He passed Bill Brown, who had six straight rushing touchdowns in six games during the 1968 season. ... Packers guard Marco Rivera sprained his right knee in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Moss broke Jerry Rice's record for most yards receiving in his first five seasons with 6,160. ... The teams combined to be penalized 25 times for 223 yards.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.