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January 6, 2013

Full-strength Packers overpower Ponder-less Vikings

GREEN BAY, Wis. — This rematch was a mismatch.

And the rest of the NFC might want to take note.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers showed how dangerous they can be when they’re at full strength Saturday night, overwhelming the Minnesota Vikings 24-10.

John Kuhn scored two touchdowns, DuJuan Harris added another and Rodgers connected with an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers as he threw for 274 yards in his first playoff victory at home. Defensively, the Packers (12-5) finally managed to contain Adrian Peterson and were all over Vikings backup Joe Webb, pressed into service because of Christian Ponder’s elbow injury.

Peterson was held to 99 yards — an improvement after gaining 199 and 210 in the first two games. Webb, who hadn’t thrown a pass all season, was sacked three times and off target all night. His only highlight was a 50-yard scoring pass to Michael Jenkins late in the fourth quarter.

With a little over a minute left, Packers fans began taunting the Vikings (10-7) with chants of “Nah-nah-nah-nah ... goodbye.” The win snapped a two-game losing streak at Lambeau Field in the playoffs, and sends the Packers to San Francisco next Saturday.

With Charles Woodson back from the broken collarbone that’s sidelined him since Oct. 21 and Rodgers having all four of his top receivers for, essentially, the first time since Sept. 30, Green Bay looked like a team that could make the kind of deep run it did two years ago when it won the Super Bowl.

Rodgers used so many different options other NFL quarterbacks must have been drooling. He went with Harris on Green Bay’s first scoring drive, mixed it up between James Jones, Tom Crabtree and Greg Jennings on the second, and had 22- and 23-yard completions to Jordy Nelson before Kuhn scored on a 3-yard run that put the Packers up 17-3 just before the half.

Ponder’s right elbow was hurt last weekend when Morgan Burnett slammed into him on a blitz. He tested the arm before the game, but the Vikings decided to go with Webb.

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