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Vikings Welcome 'Underdog' Role Entering Wild Card Weekend

EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings know full well they're the underdogs heading into New Orleans.

In all honesty, that might be putting it lightly.

"I don't think anybody believes that we can win this game, so we go in there and slug it out," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said on Monday. "All I really care about is that 53 guys believe."

The Vikings are prepping for a Saints squad that is only the third 13-3 team to play in the Wild Card round since 1990, when the NFL expanded to a six-team field for each conference.

So, sure, the task is a tall one. But as Zimmer said after the Week 17 game, "Why not us?"

Minnesota has been considered the underdog before, but the team welcomes the challenge.

That oversight tangibly surfaced earlier this week, when the NFL released a postseason hype video that included 10 of the 12 playoff teams but omitted the Vikings and Eagles.

Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs was asked during his session with Twin Cities media members if he had any sort of reaction to the omission.

"I don't make the videos. We don't make the videos," he answered. "We've got to play ball."

Five-time Pro Bowler Harrison Smith has been with Vikings teams that have been underdogs and favorites. He doesn't much mind the underdog.

"That's how it is," Smith said. "All that matters is what we believe, how we prepare in this building and how we go out and play. All that other stuff doesn't really matter."

Fellow safety Anthony Harris thought for a moment when asked if the Vikings "enjoy" being looked at as the weaker team.

"I think we like having the opportunity to play another week," Harris said. "I think guys like the preparation and like competing."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins doesn't buy too much one way or another into Minnesota's perceived chances at New Orleans.

He's really only concerned about one thing.

"You understand that you're seeded and you go play a game, but all that really matters is it's one game. We've just got to go play in a tough environment," Cousins said. "Whatever people need for motivation, so be it, but in the NFL Playoffs, I don't probably need too much more motivation. You've got everything you need, just from the fact that you're in the playoffs."

In the playoffs or not, there doesn't seem to be much confidence in the Vikings outside of the building. But Diggs pointed out that the Vikings locker room is full of "guys that have a lot to prove."

"You can see the makeup of this team. We've got a lot of late-round guys," Diggs said. "Even Dalvin Cook, I think Dalvin Cook should have been the first back off the board. We've got a lot of guys with a lot to prove that came in with that mindset.

"It's a good spot to be in," he added. "Some people don't like it, but it's a great spot. We've got a lot to prove, and we look forward to it."

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