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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Shootouts usually come down to who has the ball at the end. This one came down to who had it at the bottom.

Minnesota's Derek Ross and Green Bay's Ben Steele, who had been cut by the Vikings in training camp, each claimed ownership of Robert Ferguson's fumble at midfield in the closing minutes.

The officials eventually ruled Green Bay had possession, and the Packers drove for Ryan Longwell's 33-yard field goal as time expired for a 34-31 win Sunday, their fourth straight.

The Vikings, who had rallied to tie with two touchdowns in a 93-second span, lost their third straight game and fell into a tie with the Packers atop the NFC Central at 5-4.

``There wasn't any doubt in my mind I had the ball,'' said Steele, whose legs were cramping and arms aching as he scuffled with his fellow backup Ross for the prized possession. ``I wasn't going to give it up until the ref said, 'Eighty-two, you've got it.' There was a lot of scratching and clawing. It seemed like an eternity, but there was no way I was going to let go of that sucker.''

Ross said he was robbed by referee Ron Winter, plain and simple.


``Clearly, I had the ball. Yeah, we had the ball,'' Ross said. ``I don't think the referee did a good job of getting everybody off the pile to see clearly I had the ball.''

Ross said a 300-pound lineman -- who was actually the 250-pound Steele -- pried one of his arms back and he was helpless to do anything about it: ``I'm on the bottom of the pile for two minutes, eventually he's going to win that one.''

The Vikings, who were celebrating their big break all over the field, were stunned by the referee's ruling.