This year's model is 8-1, facing a struggling 1-6 Vikings squad. Even with the dome's manufactured crowd noise, the Packers are poised to win an important NFC battle in the war for home-field advantage.

"> This year's model is 8-1, facing a struggling 1-6 Vikings squad. Even with the dome's manufactured crowd noise, the Packers are poised to win an important NFC battle in the war for home-field advantage.

">

Game Day: Time to tackle Metrodome troubles

Forget the "jinx." The Packers' past problems in the Metro-doom have had more to do with unfavorable matchups vs. a turf team and unfortunate decisions by third-string QBs than with any Minneapolis mystique.<P> This year's model is 8-1, facing a struggling 1-6 Vikings squad. Even with the dome's manufactured crowd noise, the Packers are poised to win an important NFC battle in the war for home-field advantage.<P>

The Packers pumped their own crowd noise into the Don Hutson Center to simulate game conditions.

"After that game, I usually have a headache," Packers guard Marco Rivera admitted.

It's probably not just from the crowd noise. In the past 10 years, the Packers have won only twice at the Metrodome.

In last year's meeting, center Mike Flanagan twice snapped the ball over Brett Favre's head in the shotgun formation. Earlier this season, the Packers' suffered a similar mishap at the Louisiana Superdome, when Frank Winters snapped the ball to Favre prematurely, resulting in a fumble.

By pumping crowd noise into practices this week, Sherman is hoping that by Sunday the Metrodome might feel just like home.

"It will not be any louder over there than (in the Hutson Center), except that it's a game and not a practice," Sherman said. "That will be the real difference, is that the live bullets will be flying." This time around, the differences in depth, talent and impending playoffs (or not, for the Vikings) are definitely a factor. So is coach Mike Sherman, who isn't buying the Metrodome party line.

"My history as head coach here is we're 1-1 in the dome," Sherman said. "Last year we didn't play very well. We can attribute that to the dome, or attribute that to the Minnesota Vikings outplayed and out-coached us, which is what I feel.

"I look at it as a challenge to go over there. We've won here at home at Lambeau Field and that is nice, and now the opportunity exists for us to challenge our football team to go into a dome environment, which maybe hasn't been as friendly to us as outdoors.

"I think that's a challenge we have to face, and I look forward to it."

Adding the mystique, this long series is tied 40-40-1 since 1961, the year Minnesota entered the NFL. The tie, 10-10 came at Lambeau Field in 1978. It was the first regular-season, overtime game in team history.


Packer Report Top Stories