We haven't had a lot to cheer about these last few years when games against the hated Packers are tallied.
When Mike Tice left at the end of 2005, the Packers and Vikings all-time series was essentially tied, with the Vikings holding a 45-44-1 all time edge. In that 2005 season, Paul Edinger kicked two game winning FG's as time expired to beat Green Bay.
And of course, there was the 31-17 playoff win at Lambeau, which is still one of my all time favorite Vikings wins, and the only playoff matchup in this rivalries history.
Since 2006, though, it's been a fairly one sided affair. Green Bay has won 10 of the last 13 meetings between these two clubs, and some of them have been in embarrassing fashion--0-34 and AP hurt his MCL in 2007, 3-31 that helped fire Chilly in 2010, and that 7-45 shitfest in Lambeau last year.
Oh, there's been a few great moments for the good guys since then, though. Brett Favre donning the Purple and Gold in 2009 and spanking the Packers twice was compelling football, and Adrian Peterson putting the team on his back and pretty much willing a 29-28 win in 2008 was another great highlight.
But the Vikings have a chance to do something Sunday that no one, not even the most ardent Viking supporter thought possible when the season began--and that's get to the playoffs.
To do that, they need to beat Green Bay, in the venerable and loud Metrodome, which has been a House of Horrors for Green Bay.
The Football Gods have laid a great gift at our feet--the opportunity to watch the Vikings and Packers clash in what is essentially a playoff game for both teams. For the Packers, a win gets them the #2 seed and a first round bye, something they could use. A loss combined with a SF win (they play Arizona at home) knocks them down to the #3 seed and no bye.
For the Vikings, the stakes are higher--a win, and they're the #6 seed, they'll more than likely prevent Green Bay from getting a bye, and there's a good chance of a rematch against the Packers the following week. Lose, and they'll need Chicago, New York, and Dallas to all lose.
Let me say this right now: This is a winnable game for the Vikings. They played the Packers tough in Lambeau, and had the passing offense not completely sucked for three quarters, they would have won that game. The Vikings match up well with Green Bay in a couple of areas:
1) Green Bay has a defense that teams can run on, as Adrian Peterson showed in the first meeting at Lambeau. Yes Clay Matthews was out, but LT Matt Kalil is the real deal. If the Vikings offensive line, which is night and day different from last year, can get Peterson to the second level, he's going to have a huge...HUUUUGE...game.
2) Green Bay's offensive line is just average. The Vikings defensive line was on fire against Houston, and they have a pretty decent o-line. They were on Houston's side of the line of scrimmage the entire game, and they completely shut down the Texans run game. Green Bay doesn't have a rushing attack worth a broke dog's dick, so it will be up to Aaron Rodgers to bat the Vikings. He's totally capable of doing that, don't get me wrong, but the Vikings secondary will now be at full strength with Chris Cook back.
3) The Vikings are playing with house money. I've said this for a couple weeks now, but no one expected the Vikings to be in this position the last week of the regular season. After back to back losses to Chicago and Green Bay, this team was pretty much left for dead. They have played with reckless abandon the last three games, and played some of their best football all season. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams has executed three fantastic game plans in a row, and I have a feeling that the Vikings will have a fundamentally sound game plan ready to go come Sunday. I would expect everything to be thrown at Rodgers, up to and including the kitchen sink. If they lose, hell, no one expected them to win anyway. Let it all hang out.
4) Christian Ponder needs to bring his A game. And by A game, I mean do what you do--150-175 yards passing, don't turn the ball over, and make Green Bay respect the fact that the Vikings have a passing attack. AP is going for history, and he has been playing like a man possessed. Nothing would be cooler than Peterson setting the single season NFL rushing record, while the Vikings beat Green Bay and go to the playoffs, while kicking Green Bay out of the #2 seed.
This is the most important game the Vikings have played since the NFC Championship of 2009, and the 'dome will be rocking. I wish I could be there, but it'll be fun watching this game with my Dad. This is a winnable game, and if the Vikes win and SF beats Arizona, Minnesota will be booking travel plans to lovely Green Bay for a rematch.
You can do this, Vikings. SKOL!