By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North Division with a victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 at Lambeau Field. Their reward was a home playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round Sunday. The Seahawks are widely considered a strong contender to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They are also heavy favorites to beat the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium after the rout they put on the Vikings in Week 13 at the same stadium. The Vikings are relishing the chance to get their revenge and they wouldn’t want it any other way.
“They ran over us last time we saw them,” defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. “Now we know what they can do and we saw what they can do over the past couple weeks.
“I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been kind of watching them just to see their style and how they carry themselves ‘cause I felt like we we were going to see them again. This is the game I would rather play than Washington (or Green Bay), anyway. So I’m glad we get to play them again.”
The Vikings played three games this season against teams they played previously in the year, all division games. They won all of them, including the rematch against the Packers. They were able to complete the sweep in the other two rematch games.
“It’s hard to beat a team twice,” Floyd said. “And it’s the hardest road. We don’t want the easy route, we’ll take the hard one. We’ll fight for it.”
Another Ice Bowl
The coldest game in NFL history was a New Year’s Eve battle in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field. That game has been referred to as the “Ice Bowl” with temperatures never getting warmer than -13 and wind chill at -48.
The forecast for Sunday’s Wild Card round game between the Seahawks and Vikings lists the high temperature for the day as 0. If that holds true, it would among 10 coldest games in NFL history and would equal the second coldest game in Vikings’ history. The only home game the team has played without temperatures at or above 0 degrees at some point came in 1972 at Metropolitan Stadium. A week later, the Vikings hosted the Packers in a game reaching as warm as 0 degrees.
The Vikings placed tight end Rhett Ellison on injured reserve, elevated defensive lineman B.J. DuBose from the practice squad and signed defensive tackle Toby Johnson to the practice squad. Ellison suffered a torn patellar tendon in Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers and will not be able to play in the postseason. He finished the season with 11 catches for 124 yards and one touchdown.
DuBose was taken by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL draft out of Louisville. The 6-foot-4-inch, 284-pound defensive end can play inside or out and was among the Vikings’ final cuts following the preseason. He spent all of the regular season on the Vikings’ practice squad. Johnson was signed as an undrafted rookie following the 2015 draft out of Georgia by the Tennessee Titans. He also spent time on the practice squads of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears this season.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.