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Vikings Plan to Spend Wild Card Weekend Watching & Waiting

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –While eight NFL playoff teams will kick off the postseason this weekend, four will enjoy a first-round bye.

The Vikings clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC with Sunday's win over the Bears, which essentially worked as a two-for-one victory that sent them straight to the Divisional round of the playoffs.

What will the players do with their weekend off from football? Well, most of them will be watching football.

A number of Vikings this week told Twin Cities media members that they plan to take in the Wild Card matchups from home.

"I'll probably relax," said quarterback Case Keenum. "Maybe have some of the guys over or go over to somebody's house and watch the game."

This weekend's NFC showdowns between the Falcons and Rams (Saturday at 7:15 p.m. CT) and the Saints and Panthers (Sunday at 3:40 p.m. CT) will determine the Vikings opponent for their game on Jan. 14 set to kick off at 3:40 p.m. (CT).

Keenum said he plans to "just relax" and watch the weekend's games from a fan's perspective because he'll have plenty of time to study the coaches' film during the week. 

"I mean, it's different [than film study]. You hear stuff that's going on," Keenum said. "I haven't watched too many games this year. I mean, you'll watch them Monday night or a Thursday night game or something like that, but this will be the first time I'm watching a game knowing, you know, 'This is [determining] who we're playing this week.' "

If the No. 3 Rams defeat the No. 6 Falcons, Minnesota will have a rematch against Los Angeles after taking the 24-7 win on Nov. 19. If Atlanta wins, the Vikings will then play the winner of the Saints-Panthers game.

Adam Thielen echoed Keenum in taking in the games as a spectator only.

"You have to watch it as a fan because you don't have the wide-angle view, so you can't really see it from a scouting perspective," said Thielen, who plans to view the games at home with his family.   

"It's really hard to get too much out of them [on television]," Thielen later added. "Sometimes you listen to what the commentators say, because they've talked to the coaches and things like that, but most of the preparation comes once it's on your iPad because you can see a lot more and understand what they're doing a lot better when you have that tight copy on the TV."

Not everyone shares the same approach as Thielen and Keenum, however.

Jarius Wright laughed when asked if he would take the weekend to enjoy the football games. The receiver said it's important to do a little extra homework on four NFC teams that the Vikings have already played once this season.

"Not a fan at all," Wright said. "But you just watch both teams, see the things they do. We've played them already before, so just see what they've changed and just pay attention and try to find small details in games like that."

Xavier Rhodes plans to stay in town with his family and said he'll watch the Wild Card games but will do so "as an opponent."

"We don't know who we are playing, so we've got to critique and watch those guys, how they run the offense, who their favorite target is, what they like to run and watch film," Rhodes said. "Even though we have a bye week, we're still at work.

"One thing about it, when we talk to each other outside of here, we can't watch a football game without dissecting it," Rhodes added. "When I'm watching college ball — it can be high school ball, I'm always at work. It never stops."

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