Vikings are Packers' first-round opponent

The Vikings will make a return trip to Lambeau Field for a playoff game 3:30 p.m. next Sunday, thanks to an overtime field goal in St. Louis which immediately cleared the complicated NFC post-season picture.<P>

The Packers and Vikings have never met in the post-season.

"Playing a team three times. We're very familiar with them and vice versa, but it really doesn't matter," Favre said. The combination that matched up these two North Division rivals was A Minnesota loss to Washington, St. Louis' overtime win over the Jets and the Saints' win over Carolina, all early games Sunday.

Minnesota's loss relegated the Vikes to the sixth seed, sending them to the top seed in first round action, which is third-seed Green Bay. The Packers wrapped up their third consecutive North Division title with a win (and season sweep) over the Vikings on Christmas Eve.

"This team's going to drive me crazy," said coach Mike Tice, in the playoffs for the first time since taking over from Dennis Green during the 2001 season. "You spend the whole week trying to make sure they understand that you don't want to get yourself too worked up or too uptight, and you don't want to go out and play like you can't make a mistake. When you play like that, you go out and make mistakes." While the Vikings probably aren't thrilled with the prospect of playing in Green Bay, they're lucky to be in after their loss. They could have been eliminated if Carolina and the Jets had both won.


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