Psyching up for Vikings' volume

For the second consecutive pre-game prep, the Packers are likely to leave practice with ringing ears and a splitting headache. While readying his team for their Metrodome matchup, Packers coach Mike Sherman has pumped crowd noise into the Don Hutson Center during practice.<P>

The noise will definitely be a factor when the Packers (3-4) take on the Vikings (6-1) indoors Sunday night. Not only is the Metrodome crowd notoriously loud, the Vikings have been known to augment the din with artificial crowd noise.

Last season, the Packers were penalized for a season-high 13 times for 118 yards during their 31-21 loss to the Vikings in the Metrodome, Nov. 17, 2002.

Will practicing without being able to hear oneself think help the Packers prepare?

The week before the team traveled to St. Louis for a Week 7 game vs. The Rams, Sherman also requested crowd noise during practice. In that game, the Packers were penalized six times for 40 yards, and the miscues on offense didn't seem any more frequent than those in games played outdoors during this up-and-down campaign so far.

Some players admitted to finding it annoying and advantageous at the same time.

"That noise is just obnoxious," WR Donald Driver said in an interview published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "It just irritates me. You can't even hear yourself think.

"The domes we play in don't even come close to being that loud, but it does help prepare us to play in them."

This week, it's more of the same. The Packers are likely to find the Metrodome even less welcoming than the Edward Jones Dome, where they suffered a loss in their game before the bye.

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