GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers kept scoring on a rainy Thursday night.
Even Julius Peppers found his way across the goal line through the mist against the Minnesota Vikings.
Peppers returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, Aaron Rodgers threw for three scores, and Green Bay routed its NFC North rival 42-10.
Eddie Lacy ran for a season-high 105 yards and two touchdowns. Jordy Nelson hauled in a 66-yard touchdown catch, and the Packers held Minnesota scoreless for three quarters.
The Packers led 28-0 after the first half played in a light rain. They essentially toyed with Minnesota the rest of the way.
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 chugging the final 10 yards along the sideline to make it 21-0 with 7:06 left in the second quarter.
Peppers, the Packers’ prized free-agent acquisition, stopped for a second in the end zone before safety Morgan Burnett came up and pointed at the stands. Peppers took his first Lambeau Leap.
Peppers became the first player in NFL history with 100 sacks and 10 interceptions.
Things only got worse for Ponder, who started at quarterback with rookie Teddy Bridgewater out with a sprained left ankle.
Jamari Lattimore intercepted Ponder’s pass over the middle on Minnesota’s next drive, setting up Rodgers’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams to give Green Bay a four-touchdown lead with 4:55 left in the first half.
The rest of the game was a mere formality. Fans took delight in showering former Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings with boos whenever he touched the ball.
Jennings finished with two catches for 31 yards.
Rodgers was 12 of 17 for 156 yards.
On the long scoring strike, Rodgers found Nelson off play-action, and the NFL’s leading receiver hauled in the pass at the 20. He easily outraced safety Harrison Smith into end zone for the Packers’ second touchdown.
Rodgers also connected with Randall Cobb for an 8-yard touchdown pass set up by three straight long runs by Lacy. Cobb scored his league-leading sixth touchdown of the season.
The Packers’ struggling running game also got back on track, with Lacy running for touchdowns on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. He barreled over safety Robert Blanton into the end zone on his second score, from 10 yards out.
The fans chanted “Ed-die! Ed-die!” before the extra-point attempt.
In contrast, Minnesota rarely advanced past midfield. Its only venture across the 50 in the first half ended with Burnett forcing Asiata to fumble after an 11-yard run, and Casey Hayward recovered the Vikings’ third consecutive turnover.
Under pressure much of the night, Minnesota could rarely get anything going through the air until late with the game well in hand. Ponder was 22 of 44 for 222 yards.
Green Bay finished with six sacks, including 1 1/2 apiece for Mike Daniels and former Viking Letroy Guion.
The Vikings finally broke the shutout on Ponder’s 6-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. But they still trailed 42-7.
Ponder is Minnesota’s third starting quarterback of the year, following Matt Cassel and Bridgewater. Cassel is out for the season with a broken left foot.
Minnesota had the most notable injury when receiver Cordarelle Patterson left with a hip injury early in the third quarter after making a 6-yard catch. For Green Bay, defensive lineman Datone Jones left in the second quarter with an ankle injury.