MINNEAPOLIS -- Facing a 7-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter after one of his familiar, costly mistakes, Brett Favre brought Green Bay back again.
For a Packers team that lost four of its first five games this season, this probably didn't seem like all that much trouble.
Favre guided a 76-yard drive to set up Ryan Longwell's game-ending 29-yard field goal, lifting the Packers to a 34-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings yesterday -- and clinching a third straight NFC North crown.
"Never give up. That's been this team's M.O. all season," Favre said, "because we could've quit a long time ago."
The Packers (9-6) trailed, 31-24, with 8:18 left after Favre's third-down throw from his end zone was intercepted by Chris Claiborne and returned 15 yards for a touchdown.
The Vikings (8-7), though, couldn't get what they needed from a pass defense that has struggled all season. Donald Driver -- who had 11 receptions for 162 yards -- made a nifty, falling-down catch of Favre's pass on fourth-and-goal at the 3 to tie it at 31 with 3:34 remaining after an 80-yard drive. Favre finished 30 for 43 for 365 yards, three touchdowns and the interception.
"We needed one more play somewhere, and we just didn't do it," Vikings center Matt Birk said. "It's a disappointing loss, but there is a tomorrow and we're still very much in the hunt."
Minnesota, which can clinch a wild-card playoff spot with a loss by either Carolina or St. Louis this weekend, appeared on its way to retaking the lead. But a holding penalty on Birk -- the Vikings were flagged nine times for 78 yards -- wiped out a 16-yard run by Michael Bennett that would have given them the ball at the Green Bay 40 just before the 2-minute warning.