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Vikings Quickly Turn Attention to 2019 Postseason

MINNEAPOLIS — For a while Sunday afternoon, it looked as if the Vikings would renew their rivalry with the Packers in a playoff edition of the Border Battle.

But with Green Bay winning on a last-second field goal in Detroit, the Vikings still have to wait and find out their opponent in the Wild Card round.

With the Vikings choosing to rest the majority of their starters and key players in Week 17 against the Bears, the locker room cleared out quickly.

The message, however, was clear: it's time for playoff football.

"You've just gotta grind," said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. "Every play's important, every down, every situation, every play call. Everything's important, and we have to make each other right."

Vikings safety Anthony Harris said: "There is no real drop off in talent, it is the best of the best, so people have to rise to the occasion and bring their A-game."

Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson added: "Excited to get after it, excited to compete."

The Vikings will try to become the third team in NFL history — along with the 2005 Steelers and 2010 Packers — win a Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed. The playoffs expanded to six teams per conference in 1990.

"It's been done before," said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. "Why not us?"

Added Vikings running back Mike Boone: "It's tough on the road, but if we play Vikings football, we can get it done."

Minnesota won't know its opponent next week until the conclusion of the San Francisco-Seattle game on Sunday Night Football.

Here are the scenarios that will determine the Vikings fate:

—If the 49ers win, Minnesota will be at New Orleans.

—If the Seahawks win, Minnesota will be at Seattle.

—If the 49ers and Seahawks tie, Minnesota will be at San Francisco.

Harris said he wouldn't be pulling for one outcome over another Sunday night.

"I enjoy watching football, so I will probably tune into the game," Harris said. "I won't watch it to see whom we might play, because I don't particularly do that.

"I look and see how guys are doing, the performances and who is doing what," Harris added. "[Monday] is when I will worry about the rest once everything is drawn up."

The NFL also will announce the date and time of the game on Sunday night. The Vikings could play either Saturday or Sunday on the road.

Regardless of the opponent, the Vikings are embracing the challenge of what lies ahead.

"We'll try to figure out who we're playing and then get to practice," said Vikings rookie center Garrett Bradbury. "You can only control what you can control. We're focused on us.

"Whoever it is, it doesn't matter," Bradbury added. "As long as we focus on ourselves and control our details, it shouldn't matter who's in front of us."

Added rookie tight end Irv Smith, Jr.: "Honestly whoever we play, we are going to be excited and they will get our best."

Vikings quarterback Sean Mannion started Sunday and completed 12 of 21 passes for 126 yards. Although Kirk Cousins will start at quarterback in the postseason, Mannion is familiar with going on a deep playoff run.

Mannion was the backup for the Rams in 2018 when Los Angeles advanced to Super Bowl LIII. He also was with the 2017 Rams that won the NFC West but lost a home Wild Card game to the Falcons.

"When I think back to the last couple years, I think it's honestly just be yourself and stick to your routine," Mannion said. "I think there's a lot of hype. You'll be one of 12 teams left playing. That's an awesome, awesome thing.

"But I think you just stick with what got you there. Own your routine, own your preparation, just like you always do. You don't have to make it bigger than a game, if that makes sense," Mannion added. "Certainly you want to go, you want to run the table, win the Super Bowl. The only way you're going to achieve that, I think, is if you stay within your routine, stay within your preparation, go one day at a time and try not to make it any bigger than it really is."

Zimmer didn't sound like a coach who was concerned about which opponent the Vikings would see next weekend.

"Just be like a normal day," Zimmer said with a smile of his post-game plans. "Go home, have a little dinner, have a little red wine, sit back."