The Vikings have struggled on the road lately, but they return to the Metrodome looking for a win to turn around their recent slump. QB Brett Favre is putting the past behind and knows the importance of Sunday's game against the Giants.
The Vikings have lost three of their past four games and the momentum of a 10-1 start now seems like a distant memory. But quarterback Brett Favre
said this is not the time for anyone to panic.
"It would be easy to push the panic button and point fingers and all those things," he said. "The fact is we're in (the playoffs). We need to play better or we'll be out rather quickly. We know we can do it. We have done it. There's not a lot that needs to be said. It's just either you do it or you're going to be out."
The Vikings, who lost Monday night in Chicago, have clinched the NFC North and could still get the second seed in the conference if they can beat the New York Giants
on Sunday and Philadelphia loses at Dallas. That would give the Vikings a first-round bye in the playoffs and a home game in the divisional round.
The issue is that the Vikings clearly are no longer playing with the confidence that they carried when December began. Worst case, the Vikings are assured of a home playoff game as the division champion but if they go on the road in the second round they could be in trouble.
The Vikings will take a 7-0 home record into Sunday's game at the Metrodome but are now 4-4 on the road. Favre said the Vikings must put their recent struggles behind them.
"It's over, it's done with," he said. "There is a lot riding on this game as there was this past week (when they lost in Chicago). Everyone feels sorry for themselves, but we have to find a way to dig deep and go do it. That's the way I've always done it."
DT Jimmy Kennedy did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a thumb injury suffered Monday night against Chicago. Kennedy started in place of the injured Pat Williams against the Bears.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday because of a thigh injury.
S Eric Frampton was limited for a second consecutive day of practice because of an ankle injury.
LG Steve Hutchinson was limited for a second consecutive day of practice because of a shoulder injury. Hutchinson has been playing through the issue.
C John Sullivan was limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a knee injury.
DT Pat Williams continued to be limited because of an elbow injury that held him out of Monday's game in Chicago.
CB Antoine Winfield continues to be limited in practice because of a foot injury that kept him out for six games earlier this season. It is reported to be a Lisfranc injury, which involves a sprain or dislocation-fracture to one the small joints of the mid-foot. Winfield has struggled in the past two games because of it.