Weathering the storm

With the wind chill below zero on Wednesday, coach Mike Tice moved a planned outdoors practice to the cozy warmth of the Vikings' indoor practice facility.

Perhaps that's why the Vikings have such a hard time winning in the great outdoors.

One of the many story lines heading into Sunday's NFC wild-card playoff game at Lambeau Field is the Vikings' troubles winning away from their rocking-and-rolling Metrodome.

Under Tice, the Vikings are 2-15 in outdoor games. Going back to the Dennis Green era, the Vikings are 2-20 in their last 22 games under the sun.

"It's driving me nuts," Tice said. "I just want to block out the fact that we're having a hard time winning outside. But it sits there for everybody to see. ... Until we can win outside in the cold weather, we're going to hear about it."

Such trends are made to be broken, of course. The Packers were a notoriously bad team in domed stadiums but beat the Vikings, Lions and Texans this year.

More applicable for Sunday's game, however, the Packers had never lost a Lambeau Field playoff game and Brett Favre had never lost a cold-weather game until the Atlanta Falcons marched through Lambeau Field like they owned the place a couple years ago.

That's one reason why the Vikings say they don't fear the Packers and their venerable home.

"To say we're dreading going up there, that's crazy," Vikings free safety Brian Russell said.

Also working in the Vikings' favor is Sunday's forecast. A wicked snowstorm struck the Midwest on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The temperature is downright unpleasant for the most hardened of Wisconsinite. But on Sunday, the temperature at kickoff is supposed to be hovering around a balmy 40 degrees.

Regardless, it's not as if cold weather is something foreign to the Vikings. The Vikings, like the Packers, have to deal with the elements every time they walk the dog or go to the store.

"They live in the cold, so it's not like this is new to the team," Packers linebacker Na'il Diggs said. "By no means do we think the weather or Lambeau is going to make the Vikings roll their helmets."

More important than all of that, however, is the fact the Packers finished only 4-4 at Lambeau Field this season — including a loss to surf-loving Jacksonville — and the Vikings almost turned the number in the win column to three. Had it not been for former Viking Ben Steele stealing the football in a scrum for a fumble with less than two minutes left in the Nov. 14 game, the Vikings may have left Lambeau Field with their second victory in as many years.

"Anybody can beat you at any time," Diggs said. "No matter what the weather."

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