MINNEAPOLIS -- Brett Favre felt pain on every pass. It didn't stop him from picking up a rare win in the Metrodome.
Ignoring the broken thumb on his throwing hand, Favre passed for 194 yards and three touchdowns and the Green Bay Packers saved their season Sunday night with a 30-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
"If you're going to play, suck it up," said Favre, who improved his career record at the Vikings' noisy home to 3-9 after resting his injured thumb during Green Bay's bye week.
After two straight losses at home, the Vikings (6-2) saw their NFC North lead over the Packers (4-4) shrink to two games.
Ahman Green rushed 21 times for 137 yards to lead a ground game that gained 261 yards. He also had five catches for 52 yards and a score. Two of Javon Walker's three receptions went for Green Bay touchdowns.
"The Vikings have nothing to be ashamed of," Favre said, "because we played about as flawless as we can play."
Favre completed 18 of 28 passes and threw one interception.
"He's a special player, and that's why he's going to be in the Hall of Fame," Minnesota coach Mike Tice said. "He was very, very tough."
Favre extended his consecutive starts streak to 198, an NFL record by a quarterback.
"I'm not worried about that guy," Green said. "As long as he's playing, I know we'll be fine."
Daunte Culpepper threw two touchdown passes without an interception for Minnesota and plunged in from the 1 with 33 seconds left to cut Green Bay's lead to three. The onside kick was recovered by the Packers' Darren Sharper.
"We had a chance to put ourselves in a better position," Culpepper said. "But at the same time, we've got to feel good with our 6-2 record."
Culpepper completed 21 of 34 passes for 202 yards, and Randy Moss caught six balls for 87 yards.
Two field goals by Minnesota's Aaron Elling in the third quarter tied the game at 20, but the Packers moved the ball at will the rest of the game. Green Bay took a 27-20 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Walker on third-and-11 with 13:14 left.
Following a touchback on a Minnesota punt, the Packers put the game away with a 12-play, 71-yard drive that took 6:40 off the clock. Ryan Longwell's third field goal, a 27-yarder, gave Green Bay a 30-20 lead with 3:27 remaining.
"We made the game way too hard," Vikings linebacker Chris Claiborne said. "We needed to get off the field and give our offense a chance."
Minnesota running back Michael Bennett completed his comeback from two operations to fix a bone in his left foot he broke while running on a treadmill in March.
Bennett, who grew up in Milwaukee, played for the University of Wisconsin and had an uncle who played for the Packers, rushed eight times for 43 yards. He drew a loud roar after his first carry from the crowd of 64,482 -- a franchise-record 61st consecutive sellout by the Vikings and their highest attendance ever.
Green Bay dominated the first half, racking up 317 total yards, an average of 8.3 per play. Yet because of a 43-yard touchdown pass from Culpepper to Moss on a third-and-1 in the first quarter and one glaring mistake by Favre, the Packers led only 20-14.
Favre, 7-2 in his career playing with a significant injury, showed no effects from the injured thumb, which he fractured beneath the fingernail two weeks ago against St. Louis.
The Packers used a simple game plan, keeping Favre's throws mostly short. He spread them around the field to eight different receivers while letting Green do almost all the work.
Favre messed up once, when Corey Chavous darted in front of a throw to Walker for his league-high seventh interception and returned it 25 yards to the Green Bay 45.
The Vikings capitalized with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Culpepper to Jim Kleinsasser that put them ahead 14-13 just before the 2-minute warning.
Plenty of time for Favre, who capped a seven-play, 73-yard drive with a 12-yard TD toss to Walker with 21 seconds remaining.
"He's a magician," Chavous said.
- With 119, Favre tied Johnny Unitas for fourth on the NFL's all-time victory list for quarterbacks.
- Vikings offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie sprained his left ankle in the first quarter, reaggravated it before halftime and didn't return. X-rays were negative, and McKinnie will be re-evaluated Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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