The Vikings will have an odd feeling Monday night – rooting for the Green Bay Packers.
With Minnesota failing to secure a playoff spot Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings would still win the NFC North title with a Packers win tonight against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, or if the Vikings beat the Giants next week. The Vikings would also win it if the Bears lose next week.
But the most immediate route to the division title is with a Green Bay win tonight. Former Bears and current Vikings receiver Bobby Wade will be rooting against his old team tonight.
He asked where the game was being played. Told the Bears were at home, he said, "Great, they're definitely going to blow it."
The Vikings would have had the chance to seal the division title before the home Metrodome crowd if they hadn't lost four fumbles during Sunday's loss to the Falcons. Minnesota would have rather has its own win and not have to concern itself with tonight's game, but at least having other ways to win the division helped ease Sunday's postgame pain.
"If this would have counted where we got in or didn't, it really would have stung," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "But we can't look at it like that. If we go out there and execute, we'll be OK."
So, for at least one night, the Purple will be thinking, "Go, Pack, go!"
"We're going to be rooting for the Packers all day," said tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. "Too bad we're going to be leaving it in their hands instead of controlling our own destiny. I'm a Packers fan (Sunday) night and (Monday). I'm going to wear some green and some yellow. I don't know if I'm going to put on some socks or whatever."
The Vikings had a chance to earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs if they would have beaten Atlanta. With the Giants' Sunday night win over Carolina, the Vikings would have needed to win their final two games and have Carolina lose to the New Orleans Saints next weekend.
That would have produced the second seed for the Vikings.
"It's always in the back of our mind, even though we said we're not going to talk about it," Shiancoe said of the now-impossible No. 2 seed. "It's like the pink elephant in the room. You want to get that second seed and that bye week. That means a lot going into the postseason to rest your guys up."
For tonight anyway, Shiancoe will begrudgingly be rooting for one division rival to knock off another and thereby give the division crown to the Vikings.
"I'm rooting for the Packers. Go Packers! Dammit."
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