The Vikings found out Monday they won't play host to a divisional round game until Sunday, Jan. 17. Well, they are going to get some time to relax before then.
Coach Brad Childress said at his mid-day news conference that after holding meetings Monday he will give his players off until this coming Sunday. That will enable several of them to head to warmer climates and get away from football and their teammates for a few days. Injured players will continue to get treatment.
"I think we're best served right now to get some rest mentally and physically," Childress said. "It is true that people that you locker by every day you see more than you probably see the members of your family. When you spend that much time with somebody sometimes familiarity can breed contempt and so while we have a great group that is fun to be around they can use a little down time from each other and come back with a bounce in their step on Sunday."
The Vikings (12-4) won their second consecutive NFC North crown this season but this is the first time Childress' team has earned a first-round bye in the postseason. The Vikings will play host to either Dallas, Arizona or Green Bay at noon on Jan. 17 at the Metrodome. A Vikings official said Monday that game officially is soldout.
The coaching staff will remain at Winter Park for much of the week preparing for those three teams and also looking at the Eagles, who they could face in the NFC title game. The Eagles, the sixth-seed, would play the Saints in the divisional round if they get past Dallas. "We've played Green Bay and Arizona so we have a decent book on those guys," Childress said. The coaching staff will work at least through Wednesday and Childress said several of his coaches probably will continue to come in.
"I'd say it doesn't hurt," to have played two of the teams, Childress said. "Obviously, one from your own division. And then we've played Arizona two years back-to-back so we have a little bit of an idea of their personality. They're not just a complete unknown. Somebody that we haven't teed it up against before."
Asked about playing a Packers team that the Vikings have defeated twice this year and know so well, Childress didn't sound like he had any real issues with facing Green Bay again. "It doesn't make any difference with what I think," he said. "Just deal with what I have to deal with. I don't feel one way or the other. We'll play who they tell us to play."
Childress did make it clear he is glad to have the bye.
"I'm excited about it," he said. "It's one of the goals we set in place aside from wanting to win the NFC North and play at home during the playoffs. There is a reason you want to play at home. We have great crowds, we have great fans, we're obviously 8-0 at home and you want to play off of all those things and sleep in your same bed at the same time."