We mentioned early on Monday in the blog that the Vikings enjoyed a tremendous home-field advantage on Sunday against the Cowboys thanks to 63,000+ towel-waving, frenzied fans who kept their noise and energy level high for the entire game.
While meeting with reporters at Winter Park on Monday for his usual day-after-the-game press conference, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was quick to mention the crowd, too.
“You can’t say enough, starting and finishing 9-0 at home in front of those fans,” Childress said. “Tremendous, electric atmosphere right out of the box, and they stood continuously and made communications tough. So, my hat is off to those great Minnesota Vikings fans. They made that (Mall of America Field) the environment that it is, and that’s why you talk about home field advantage. (I’m) excited about that.”
As we mentioned in Friday’s blog entry, the Cowboys were able to avoid procedural penalties caused by the noise but it was clear that offensive communication was a chore for QB Tony Romo and it was even more evident that the Vikings defense was feeding off of the noise and energy generated by the raucous crowd.
But Childress also acknowledged that his team will get a taste of its own medicine this weekend when they travel to the Superdome for the NFC Championship Game to take on the Saints, a team who also realizes a loud home-field advantage thanks to thousands of screaming fans inside of a dome.
“We know, with the fans that I talked about here, we go right into that same environment down in New Orleans,” Childress said. “We’ve already talked about having a plan for that.”
Without getting into specific play calls, the best plan for neutralizing a noisy home crowd is to score, and score early. That’s something Dallas came close to accomplishing early in last Sunday’s game, but big plays by the Vikings defense eventually prevented the Cowboys from tallying points on the scoreboard.
For the Vikings to accomplish the tall task of silencing the crowd, they’ll have to execute well down the field and avoid mistakes that can be caused by an uncomfortable environment.
“Obviously the best plan is to make them sit on their hands down there, and you only do that by playing well down there,” Childress said. “It should be a great matchup, and we’re excited to represent in the NFC Championship Game.”
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