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Pat Williams, Brooking Have Different Views On Late-Game Play Calling

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on January 17, 2010 – 8:48 pm

It seems as though Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking had a little issue with Minnesota’s late-game play calling during today’s 34-3 drubbing of his team.

Courtesy of ESPN.com’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert, Brooking thought it was “classless” that the Vikings threw a pair of passes to the end zone late in today’s game.  As ProFootballTalk.com pointed out, Brooking and his teammates are paid to stop other teams from scoring.  Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams agreed.

“We don’t care what Keith Brooking says,” Williams told Seifert.  “He was about to get his ass whupped on our sideline over there.  It don’t matter.  Nobody said anything when they blew out the Eagles [the past two weeks].

“It’s the playoffs.  It ain’t no regular-season game.  If you lose, you go home.  We take no pity on them.  Do they expect us to?  I don’t care about no Brooking.  He can say whatever he wants to say.”

Brad Childress and Brett Favre also touched on the issue during their postgame press conferences.


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Vikings Dominate Cowboys 34-3, Advance To Championship Game

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 17, 2010 – 3:05 pm

The Vikings have advanced to the NFC Championship Game for a showdown against the top-seeded New Orleans Saints after defeating the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 34-3 at Mall of America Field on Sunday.

Next week’s conference championship game will be played at the Superdome in New Orleans at 5:40 CT.

QB Brett Favre and WR Sidney Rice torched the Cowboys secondary, connecting 3 times for TDs and pacing the 34-point offensive output. Favre was 15 of 24 for 234 yards and 4 TDs on the afternoon, a performance that generated a 134.4 passer rating. Rice had 6 receptions for 141 yards and the 3 scores.

The offensive display electrified the Mall of America Field crowd, but it was a dominant and punishing defensive performance that constantly whipped the 63,000+ fans into a frenzy that Dallas’ offense couldn’t overcome. The Cowboys had 6 more offensive snaps and held the time of possession advantage, but it the Vikings defense always came up with the big play at the perfect time.

Dallas QB Tony Romo was harassed all day and was sacked 6 times. He was efficient – completing 22 of 35 passes – but the production wasn’t there (just 198 yards and 0 TDs) and he was under pressure or sacked on most dropbacks. LB Ben Leber intercepted Romo once and both DE Jared Allen and Ray Edwards registered strip-sacks.

We’ll have complete and comprehensive postgame coverage all afternoon and into tonight right here on vikings.com. So, stay tuned to vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog for most postgame thoughts and reaction.


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Did You Know?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 17, 2010 – 11:21 am

A few interesting notes and stats to think about before kickoff of today’s game…

– The Vikings were 4-1 this season against the 2009 playoff teams, defeating Green Bay twice, Baltimore and Cincinnati and losing to Arizona.

– A win would give the Vikings their 1st playoff win since 2004, when they defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-17 in the Wild Card game, and only their 2nd postseason win since 2000.

– This will be the 7th postseason meeting between the Vikings and the Cowboys. The teams’ 6 prior playoff games have consisted of 2 NFC Wild Card games, 2 NFC Divisional Playoff games and 2 NFC Championship Games. The Vikings are 2-4 against the Cowboys in the postseason but won the last matchup in the 1999 NFC Wild Card round, beating Dallas 27-10 in the Metrodome.

– The Vikings and Dallas have not squared off since 2007, and this is the Cowboys 1st visit to Mall of America Field since 2004 (a 35-17 Vikings win).

– A win would give the Vikings their 8th trip to the NFC Championship Game.

– Among current Vikings players, there have been 112 postseason games played with 66 starts. Seventeen Vikings will make their 1st playoff appearance this year, while 36 have either played or been on the active roster in at least one postseason game prior to 2008.

– QB Brett Favre has the most playoff starts (22) among current Vikings.

– The Vikings coaching staff has coached and/or played in 103 postseason games.


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Joe Kapp Is Today’s Honorary Viking

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 17, 2010 – 10:51 am

Prior to each home game, one individual serves as the Honorary Viking and sounds the Gjallarhorn just before kickoff. Today’s Honorary Viking is former QB Joe Kapp.

During his short stay with the Vikings, Kapp made lasting memories for Vikings fans and remains today a fan-favorite in Minnesota.

After 8 seasons in the CFL, Kapp joined the Vikings and was Bud Grant’s starting QB for 3 seasons. His best season came in 1969, his final season with the Vikings, when he threw for 1,726 yards and 19 TDs. Kapp currently holds the NFL record (tie) and Vikings record with 7 TD passes in a game and also led the Vikings to the NFL Championship 40 years ago.

Kapp was the impetus behind the “40 For 60″ motto the team embraced during his time in purple.


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Today’s Inactives

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on January 17, 2010 – 10:28 am

Here are the Vikings inactives for today’s game against the Cowboys:

QB Sage Rosenfels (3rd QB), WR Jaymar Johnson, CB Karl Paymah, TE Garrett Mills, LB J Leman, C Jon Cooper, DE Jayme Mitchell, and DT Letroy Guion.

We’ll have Dallas’ inactives shortly.

UPDATE – here are Dallas’ inactives:

QB Stephen McGee, CB Cletis Gordon, S Michael Hamlin, LB Jason Williams, G Montrae Holland, C Duke Preston, T Pat McQuistan, and LB Curits Johnson.


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Edwards and Williams Make Cowboys Playoff Task Tougher

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 17, 2010 – 10:19 am

Many of the Vikings defensive starters for today’s playoff matchup against the Cowboys were in the lineup last year when the Philadelphia Eagles came to town during Wild Card Weekend.

But, in a storyline that was largely ignored this week in the build up to today’s game, there are 2 key defensive starters who will line up today but who also missed last season’s playoff game against the Eagles – DE Ray Edwards and DT Pat Williams.

Both players missed last year’s game because of injury, forcing the Vikings to start 2 backups along the defensive line in the season’s most important game.

In what is this season’s most important game, most of the pregame attention has been focused on Dallas’ pass rush and the Vikings chore of containing it. But with Edwards and Williams in the lineup, the Cowboys chore of blocking the Vikings defensive line will be a lot tougher than the Eagles chore a year ago.


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Several Youngsters In Key Spots For Vikings

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 17, 2010 – 9:56 am

With a solid corps of veteran players and with a return trip to the playoffs this season after making it last season, the Vikings are not short on playoff experience. In fact, 36 Vikings have either played or been active in at least one playoff game and 25 of those 36 Vikings have started at least 1 postseason game.

With that being said, however, there are several young Vikings who will be in key spots today against the Dallas Cowboys. Their youth and inexperience might be perceived as a disadvantage, but the fact that a division-winning team with a 12-4 record feels comfortable enough to rely on them also goes to their credit.

Here’s a brief look at the young Vikings who will be getting their first taste of playoff action while in primary roles…

LB Jasper Brinkley: A rookie 5th rounder, Brinkley was solid for the Vikings on special teams all season and then he was thrust into a starting role on defense when E.J. Henderson was lost for the year in Week 13. Brinkley has played well against the run and is improving against the pass. He’ll be on the field today primarily in run situations and the Vikings will sub in an extra DB on passing downs.

WR Percy Harvin: The 2009 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, Harvin set a new Vikings franchise record for all-purpose yardage and he also set a new team record for rushing yards by a WR. In addition, Harvin was fantastic as a kick returner and he tied for the lead among rookie WRs for receptions with 60. The Vikings would love to have a typical all-around performance from the outstanding rookie play-maker today.

S Tyrell Johnson and S Jamarca Sanford: Johnson will remain the starter at safety, along with Madieu Williams, but Sanford will also see time on defense. Sanford has been outstanding for the Vikings this season on special teams and toward the end of the season he also saw time on defense. Both players will see the field plenty today.

RT Phil Loadholt: The Vikings ability to contain Dallas’ pass rush is a key factor in today’s game and Loadholt, a 2nd rounder from last April’s draft, is a key factor in that effort. He’ll be primarily facing Cowboys OLB Anthony Spencer.

WR Sidney Rice: Though in his 3rd season, we include Rice in this category because he’s healthy and at the top of his game for the first time. Rice had a breakout season in 2009, often times becoming unstoppable with QB Brett Favre lofting passes his way. Dallas will have to find a way to contain him.

C John Sullivan: A lot of attention has been focused on Dallas edge rushers, but the Cowboys can push the pocket from the middle, too, thanks to Pro Bowl DT Jay Ratliff. One man who’ll be responsible for blocking Ratliff is Sullivan. Although he’s not a rookie either, Sullivan will be playing in his first playoff game as a starting center.


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