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Vikings Know the Urgency of Now

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It's now or never for the Vikings.

And according to Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, it's his team against the world.

Although the Vikings are the No. 3 seed and will be playing at home for Sunday's noon (CT) Wild Card game against the sixth-seeded Seahawks, nearly every expert and pundit is picking Seattle to win.

Bring it on, Zimmer said.

"Like I've told our team, I know no one is giving us any chance to win this game and that's fine," Zimmer said Friday from Winter Park. "But there's only four teams in the league that have better records than us, so we've done a couple things right."

He later added: "I tell (my team) every week no one expects us to win."

The leader of a team that not many people expected to win the division this year, Zimmer said he feels confident heading into Sunday's matchup against the NFC representative in the last two Super Bowls.

One reason is because Minnesota was 4-2 in games decided by seven points or less this season.

"A lot of close ballgames, we found a way to win them," Zimmer said. "I think that was important. That allowed us to get in a position where we could get into double-digit (wins)."

Replacing Rhett: The Vikings will be without a key offensive piece Sunday as tight end Rhett Ellison is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Ellison has 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown but is primarily known for his skills as a blocker. Teammates have praised Ellison for his gritty play and selfless attitude. Ellison has been chosen to sound the ceremonial Gjallarhorn before Sunday's game.

"I felt really bad for him because he's a great guy and would give anything to be out there," said tight end MyCole Pruitt, who is expected to help fill in for Ellison. "I just want to be able to play and do well and fill this role." 

Pruitt, a rookie from Southern Illinois, said he's prepared to help out in both the running game and passing attack.

"As a tight end, you've got to be ready to do both," Pruitt said. "That's part of the job description. Whatever plays I'm in, I'm ready for that."* *

Peterson up for FedEx Honor:Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was  named to the 2015 Associated Press All-Pro First Team and nominated for the FedEx Air & Ground Player of the Year award on Friday.

Peterson led the NFL with 1,485 yards and tied for the league lead with 11 touchdowns as the Vikings went 11-5 and won the NFC North crown for the first time since 2009.

Peterson was nominated for the FedEx Air & Ground Player of the Week honor six times during the regular season and won it twice.

The award is determined through fan voting (visit NFL.com/FedEx to vote).

If Peterson wins, FedEx will make a $25,000 donation to Minneapolis' local chapter of the American Red Cross.

The other nominees for the Ground award are: St. Louis RB Todd Gurley and Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin.

The nominees for the Air award are: New England QB Tom Brady, Arizona QB Carson Palmer and New Orleans QB Drew Brees.

Weather today vs. Sunday's forecast: The Vikings practiced outside Friday with a temperature of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and snowy conditions when the session began. Sunday's forecast is projecting a high temperature of 4 degrees with a low of minus-4.

Injury update: For the Vikings: Peterson (low back), DT Linval Joseph (foot), DE Everson Griffen (shoulder) and WR Adam Thielen (shoulder/lower back) are all probable. DT Kenrick Ellis (ankle) has been ruled out.

For the Seahawks: WR Tyler Lockett (hip), DE Michael Bennett (toe), T Russell Okung (calf), G J.R. Sweezy (concussion), CB Jeremy Lane (oblique), DT Jordan Hill (toe) and S Kam Chancellor (pelvis) are all probable. RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is questionable while TE Luke Willson (concussion) has been ruled out.

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