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Page, Eller, Krause & Foreman: Focused Approach & Managing Emotions Critical in Playoffs

Posted Jan 20, 2018

The Vikings franchise is no stranger to the postseason, having won the 1969 NFL Championship and NFC Championships after the 1973, ’74 and ’76 seasons.

A Super Bowl title, however, has remained out of reach.

The goal for this year’s team nearly vanished last week until a “Minneapolis Miracle” occurred on the final play. Case Keenum found Stefon Diggs down the right sideline for a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

The improbable score has sent Minnesota to its 10th NFL/NFC Championship game appearance in franchise history and first since the 2009 season.

If the Vikings defeat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, they will become the first organization to participate in a Super Bowl in its home stadium.

Hall of Famers Alan Page, Carl Eller and Paul Krause played in all four Super Bowls that Minnesota has made. Ring of Honor member Chuck Foreman helped the Vikings win those three NFC titles in his first four pro seasons.

The Vikings Entertainment Network spoke with all four players about their playoff memories.

Page said he tried to approach every postseason game with the same way he prepared for regular-season games.

“From my perspective, the difference doesn’t exist,” Page said. “You still have to perform, you still have to prepare, and the secret is putting yourself in position to win the next game. Whether it’s the regular season or the playoffs, that’s the challenge.

“I suppose the difference is during the regular season, you’ve got another game if you lose, but in the playoffs, you lose and go home,” Page continued. “I never looked at it that way. It seems to me that each game stands on its own, and the challenge is to go out focused and perform at a level that will allow you to win and know that if you don’t, it’s over.”

Eller and Krause each spoke about the importance of managing emotions in games.

“That is the most difficult part, keeping the level head, because you get so excited and your emotions can, like, overrun you,” Eller said. “You have to kind of keep that in control, because the game is still a 60-minute game. A lot of things can happen and typically do. The game can go this way or that way, and your emotions can actually run out. What you have to do is keep that same intensity throughout the entire game.”

Added Krause: “The emotions that come and go with that and the fans and everything, it’s all about this Super Bowl game. The best football games are always the games where you’re trying to get to the Super Bowl. We played tough, tough games against Los Angeles and other teams that we had to beat just to get to the Super Bowl. Those are the toughest games and probably the best games, but the Super Bowl has so much hype. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to live up to the hype.”

Foreman said a sort of “tunnel vision” can help.

“The greatest thing about a playoff game is the concentration level and the focus that you have to have, to be tunnel vision, sort of, where you get to the point where you can’t even hear the fans,” Foreman said. “The only thing you can hear is the quarterback and what he’s calling and your assignments, and the defenses that you see and the adjustments you have to make.

“We missed winning the entire thing, but it’s not an easy place to get to,” Foreman said. “We’re in a position now like I was then, to achieve that goal, and I think if everybody comes to play like they’re capable of playing like they have done, it can be done, no question about it.”