By finishing out their regular season with a win, the Vikings secured home-field advantage for round one of the playoffs, meaning they will host Seattle on Sunday for a noon (CT) kickoff.
The Seahawks will be no easy contest, as they have won four of their last five games and defeated Minnesota in a lopsided 38-7 game on Dec. 6. The Vikings will be game planning all week in an effort to correct mistakes, bring Seattle down at home and continue their playoff run.
Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports wrote that the team may be able to learn a thing or two from studying Rams' film. Although St. Louis has not finished with overly impressive records the last couple of seasons, the team does seem to be a thorn in Seattle's side.
"Apparently, we just need to watch St. Louis play them and do what they do," Vikings linebacker Riley Reiff told USA TODAY Sports as he left the visitor's locker room at Lambeau Field after Sunday's 20-13 upset of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North title tilt.
Greenway was at least partly kidding. But there's truth there for a Vikings team that's built on defense and a strong running game in a similar mold to the punishing Rams, who have been Seattle's Kryptonite the past couple of years despite their struggles against most everyone else.
There's a strong case the Vikings may have been better off losing Sunday, taking the wild-card spot and coming back [to Lambeau] next weekend to face the struggling Packers, rather than hosting a Seattle team that has been to consecutive Super Bowls since Minnesota last made the playoffs three years ago.
But the Vikings weren't going to lay down Sunday – not with an opportunity to secure their first division title since 2009 and end a 1-10-1 skid since then against their border rivals and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. So, Seattle it is, and the Vikings know they'll have to play a whole lot better than they did in the first meeting Dec. 6.
Jim Souhan: Vikings Defense Receives 'A' Grade
Following last night's game, the *Star Tribune's *Jim Souhan handed out letter grades to all levels of the Vikings team. Souhan doled out a low grade for Minnesota's offense, while assigning an "A" to both the defensive unit and the coaching.
Souhan's grade: D
Teddy had a bad game and Peterson was less than dominant behind an iffy offensive line.
Souhan's grade: A
Even though the Packers have struggled, holding Rodgers down in Lambeau in a big game is impressive.
Souhan's grade: C
Walsh was on point but Patterson's fumble could have altered the outcome.
Souhan's grade: A
The Vikings finally beat Green Bay at Lambeau and won the division. Kudos to Zimmer.
The 20-13 win was the first time Minnesota defeated the Packers since Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer started at the beginning of the 2014 season.
The Vikings defense kept the team in the game when Green Bay attempted a comeback in the fourth quarter. There were several key plays, including cornerback Mackensie Alexander's fumble recovery and return for a touchdown.
Defensive end Everson Griffen and cornerback Xavier Rhodes each received a game ball following the contest. Griffen had 2.0 sacks, including one to cause the fumble that Munnerlyn returned, and Rhodes had his first interception of the year (second career) to stop the Packers' fourth-quarter drive.
Vikings End 6-Year Losing Streak at Lambeau Field, Add Exciting Game to Storied Rivalry
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.
**Minnesota has not won a road game against Green Bay since 2009, but the Vikings put an end to that streak last night with a 20-13 win over the Packers to dethrone the division rivals and regain control of the NFC North.
Over the years, there have been a number of interesting matchups between the border rival teams, and The *Pioneer Press' *Brian Murphy featured a New Year's Day list. At the top was Oct. 5, 1998 at Lambeau Field:
Moment: Rookie wide receiver Randy Moss awes a national TV audience with five catches, 190 yards and two touchdowns, overwhelming Green Bay's overmatched secondary during a relentless downpour. Brett Favre throws three interceptions and is benched as the Vikings prevail 37-24, ending Green Bay's 25-game home winning streak on their way to a record-shattering 15-1 season.
Also on Murphy's lineup was Dec. 30, 2012, the last time the Vikings defeated the Packers. Former Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had a big performance that night to give Minnesota a win and ticket to the playoffs.
Moment: The Packers already had clinched the NFC North, but Minnesota needed to win the regular-season finale to clinch a playoff berth. Moreover, running back Adrian Peterson needed 208 yards to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the Vikings won 37-34 on Kevin McDermott's game-ending field goal. Christian Ponder threw three touchdowns in the best game of his career. Peterson ran for 199 yards and finished with 2,097 yards in 2012.
It's safe to say that last night's game can now be added to the list of significant games in this storied rivalry. Green Bay made a comeback after being down 20-3, but the Vikings held on and played tough defense to hang onto the lead and wrap up the game with a win.