Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Playoffs nothing new to Charlie Johnson

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Super Bowl Updated: January 1, 2013 - 1:02 PM

The Vikings haven’t played a playoff game since the NFC Championship loss to New Orleans on Jan. 24, 2010. Only 13 players who participated in that game remain on the active roster. But it’s actually left guard Charlie Johnson who has the most playoff experience of any player on this year’s team.

Johnson will be playing his 11th playoff game Saturday in Green Bay. He went to the playoffs in all five of his seasons in Indianapolis and played in Super Bowls XLI and XLIV with the Colts.

Johnson has played on teams that were favored and expected to reach the Super Bowl. Now he’s enjoying a different path as part of this year’s surprise underdog story.

“It gives you hope for us to win four straight and to get that momentum and then to get into the playoffs,” he said. “Once you get in, anything can happen. It’s been done before. There’s a precedent set for teams like this getting on a roll.”

Johnson also said, unless it’s specifically requested by younger players, he wouldn’t offer up any playoff advice this week.

“I think by doing that you plant a seed in their heads, saying, ‘Well, this is more than a game,’ when it’s not,” Johnson said. “I think if you look at the teams that are successful in the playoffs, they approach the playoffs like they would a Week 6 regular season game. Nothing changes. You can’t go out of what you do.

“But if they ask and say, ‘I want to know what it’s like,’ I will [provide advice].”


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