Turning Point: Quick Start

The Vikings knew they needed to take the crowd out of the equation to limit Green Bay's home-field advantage, which had failed only once previously in Packers playoff history. Score one — or 17 quick ones — for the Vikings.

Taking the crowd out of a road game is always critical to the success of any team in a visiting stadium. When that stadium is Lambeau Field, where the home team has lost just once in the playoffs in franchise history, it becomes a much bigger issue. But, the Vikings did just that, producing on offense and defense early to make their own turning point of the game.

With the weather and the atmosphere going against the Vikings, a quick start was essential. It took the Vikings just three plays to get the lead — scoring on a brilliantly devised pass from Daunte Culpepper to Moe Williams that went for 68 yards — the fastest score by the Vikings in their playoff history and the second-longest Vikings postseason pass play for a TD.

With the offense on fire, the defense did its job — forcing Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre into a three-and-out with a crushing sack by Chris Claiborne. With the offense back on the field, it got the same positive results — marching 55 yards in four plays, ending with a 20-yard touchdown from Culpepper to Randy Moss.

"We knew they were going to put a lot of focus on Randy," Culpepper told VU. "But in that situation, he had his guy matched up and he was open for the fade."

With the Vikings up 14-0, the festive atmosphere was gone and the Packers neared desperation mode. Favre was then intercepted by Antoine Winfield — which led to a field goal, and the Vikings had a 17-0 lead.

The Packers tried to mount a comeback, but that early advantage proved to be all the Vikings would need. The Packers would never get closer than seven points the rest of the game and, thanks to their fast and furious start, the Vikings made their own turning point of the game with a 17-0 run to start the first quarter.

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