This past Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings avenged a Week 11 loss to Green Bay, beating the Packers 20-13 at Lambeau Field to clinch the NFC North. This Sunday, they’ll try to do something similar: avenge a Week 13 loss to Seattle to win the Wild Card and clinch a spot in the divisional playoffs.
It’s not going to be easy.
The Vikings were much better the second time around against Aaron Rodgers, sacking him five times and forcing two turnovers. They’ll need to be just as good against Russell Wilson, who threw for 274 yards, ran for 51 and had four touchdowns (three pass, one rush) and no turnovers in Seattle’s 38-7 win in Minnesota on Dec. 6.
Minnesota will get a second crack at Wilson – again at home – this Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET.
“Wilson, he poses some of the same threats as Rodgers as far as being able to extend plays with his feet,” Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “On the back end, you’re going to have to cover longer for certain plays with him scrambling around. We get to face that against Green Bay twice a year, so it’s not something we haven’t faced before. But our front will do a great job of keeping him contained the best that they can and do a great job of getting pressure on him.”
Seattle overwhelmed Minnesota in that Week 13 matchup. The Vikings fell behind 35-0 and scored their only touchdown on a 101-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. If the Vikings don’t come out strong this Sunday, they’re going to get embarrassed – again.
“That’s every team in the NFL,” Sendejo said. “If you don’t show up on Sunday, you will get embarrassed. So it really comes down to the same things every week. From a defensive standpoint, you got to force turnovers, got to force three-and-outs and try to stop the big play and get the offense the ball. They got some playmakers on their offense. We’ll have to do a great job of eliminating those threats and then just keep playing our style of defense that we’ve been playing the last couple of weeks, playing greedy and trying to get the ball back. You got to click in all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – when you get into this playoff atmosphere. It can’t just be one phase playing well. We’re going to need everybody to show up on Sunday. It’s going to be a hell of a game.”
The Vikings started the season 7-2 but lost three of its next four to Green Bay, Seattle and Arizona – all NFC playoff teams. Minnesota, however, responded by winning its final three games, including a season-defining win at Lambeau, where it hadn’t won since 2009 – the last time the Vikings had won the division.
Now Minnesota has its sights set on even greater achievements.
“Those last couple games were really important,” Sendejo said. “Obviously to clinch the playoff and then to clinch the division title, you got to use that momentum to kind of carry you into the playoffs and just go from there. You got to get in and start playing good ball right at the right time.”