Three-and-out: Three Vikings pregame topics of note

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 26, 2012 - 11:01 PM

The adrenaline percolating through Winter Park was obvious Wednesday. It's the final week of the season, and the Vikings face a win-and-get-in home showdown against Green Bay this weekend. It's a game holding huge significance for a young team filled with players not used to being on this stage. Said fullback Jerome Felton: "In terms of importance and what's at stake, this game is No. 1 in my career. It's not even close. This one is so far No. 1, I don't even know what No. 2 is." Wait, there's more. Here's a trio of other things you should know:

1. If Sunday's showdown becomes a placekicking battle, the Vikings seem to hold a decisive advantage.

Rookie Blair Walsh has been so reliable all season that teammates admit they're occasionally forgetting to fully appreciate his leg strength. After all, Walsh has made 32 of 35 attempts this season, including all nine from 50 yards or longer.

Said quarterback Christian Ponder: "It's crazy. It's almost like at this point we're kind of taking it for granted. You're almost like, 'Ah, he'll make it.' And you go and sit down."

Sure, Vikings fans are well aware that a full season of kicking brilliance doesn't guarantee success in the biggest game of the season. (Insert your Gary Anderson trauma here.) But certainly the Vikings would rather have Walsh's confidence at full rather than have him dealing with a mental funk similar to the one Green Bay's Mason Crosby is in.

Crosby has missed a dozen kicks this season and is just 1-for-8 from beyond 50 yards. He has missed at least one field goal in nine of the Packers' past 11 games, and his ongoing struggles could easily become a trap door for a Super Bowl-caliber team.

Still, the Packers have opted for patience over panic. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said he weighs Crosby's slump with a full view of the kicker's talent, commitment level and performance over the long term.

"At the end of the day, we feel he's our best option," McCarthy said. "We believe in him. ... It's like anything. It's a mental approach. It's him staying confident in his swing mechanics."


2. Chad Greenway is the recipient of this year's Korey Stringer Good Guy Award.

Since 2001, the Twin Cities media has presented the honor to a Vikings player who is cooperative and affable with reporters. Greenway was chosen as this year's winner thanks to his consistent availability and honesty.

Greenway was presented with a plaque Wednesday and, as always, mixed humor into his acceptance. Three and a half weeks ago, after a 23-14 loss in Green Bay, the personable linebacker attempted to frame the importance of the Vikings' Week 14 home game with Chicago by asserting that everyone -- from coaches to players to scouts to fans -- had to up their intensity.

For the fans, Greenway suggested they get "super-duper drunk." "So drink liquor, not beer," he said in a colorful quip that then drew an inordinate volume of attention and criticism.

Predictably, Greenway has playfully steered around controversy this week. On Wednesday, he carefully stated multiple times that he wanted the home crowd this weekend to be "really loud." Which of course led to a follow-up question on whether he had any new advice to help the fans be, um, noisier.

"Yeah. Show up on time," Greenway said, smirking. "Be there. Be loud. And don't sell any tickets to anyone wearing green."

Nicely played.


3. Since Oct. 8, Green Bay has been the hottest team in football.

The Packers left Indianapolis in Week 5 feeling glum, a 30-27 loss dropping them to 2-3 and into third place in the NFC North. Now? With nine wins in their past 10 games, they've already clinched the division and have a chance at a playoff bye.

The most recent triumph in Green Bay's four-game winning streak was last Sunday's 55-7 destruction of Tennessee. The Packers rolled to a 20-0 halftime lead, thanks to two takeaways, and limited Tenneesee to 96 yards and four first downs. Then Aaron Rodgers led five consecutive touchdown drives in the second half to build a 55-point advantage.

"All three phases are working together," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "This is not just an offensive team where the offense has to carry the entire team. We feel good about that."

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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