Peppers pick, TD add salt to wounds of the Vikings

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Peppers pick, TD add salt to wounds of the Vikings

Julius Peppers crossed the goal line and caught his breath.

But his work wasn’t done after returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. Teammate Morgan Burnett pointed to the stands - time for Peppers’ first Lambeau Leap.

One of many for the Packers on Thursday night.

Aaron Rodgers threw for three scores, and Eddie Lacy ran for a season-high 105 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-10 rout of the Minnesota Vikings.

Jordy Nelson hauled in a 66-yard touchdown catch. Things were going so well in Green Bay that even Peppers found his way to the end zone through the mist.

But something was missing.

Burnett “just said, ‘Go, go, go, go!’’’ Peppers recounted.

This is all new to Peppers after joining the Packers in the offseason as a free agent.

“I was pretty tired after that run, so I barely got up there,’’ Peppers said. “It was tough.’’

The Vikings had it much worse.

The Packers led 28-0 after a first half played in a light rain. They essentially toyed with Minnesota the rest of the way.

“Green Bay outplayed us,’’ said Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer. “They were more physical than we were. They did a much better job all night.’’

Peppers had the highlight-reel play in the second quarter after picking off a pass over the middle from Christian Ponder, who was hit by tackle Luther Robinson as he released the throw.

The 34-year-old Peppers veered left across the field and waited for blocks before striding the final 10 yards along the sideline to make it 21-0 with 7:06 left in the second quarter.

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

“I like the way it went tonight,’’ said Packers Coach Mike McCarthy. “Yeah, I’ll take this.’’

Ponder struggled in getting the start at quarterback with rookie Teddy Bridgewater out with a sprained left ankle.

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

That was Rodgers’ 200th career touchdown - though he let Adams’ keep the ball in honor of his first career score.

“I’m very proud of Aaron,” McCarthy said. “It seems like he’s in the point of his career now where every week or every other week he’s breaking a record.” AP

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