The Vikings closed out their home schedule undefeated, but the tables will be turned on them in the Superdome when they are the ones dealing with the noise on offense. Can the Vikings turn an average road record into a Super Bowl berth?
The Vikings cruised to a surprisingly easy 34-3 victory over the Dallas Cowboys
on Sunday in their divisional playoff game to advance to the NFC title game.
The victory gave the Vikings a 9-0 record this season at the Metrodome, and Brett Favre
finished with 25 touchdowns and only two interceptions in the building.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, that success has not carried over to the road this season and they are going to have to face a tough New Orleans team at the Superdome on Sunday.
The Vikings finished 4-4 away from home, losing their final three road games in December after sweeping a three-game home stand to end the previous month. Favre had 12 touchdown passes and five interceptions on the road.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who came up with an outstanding game plan to shut down the Cowboys, is going to have to come up with another one against the Saints' high-powered passing attack and Drew Brees
"I'm excited," running back Adrian Peterson
said about playing the Saints. "We're playing in the NFC Championship Game, so, we've got to go to work. I'm sure those guys will come in with the same mindset, trying to win."
One thing that impacted the Cowboys was the crowd noise at the Metrodome. The Vikings will have to deal with the same thing at the Superdome.
"We know with the fans that I talked about here (in Minnesota), we go right into that same environment down in New Orleans," coach Brad Childress said. "We've already talked about having a plan for that and obviously the best plan is to make them sit on their hands down there. You only do that by playing well down there. So it should be a great matchup and excited to represent in the NFC Championship Game."
DE Ray Edwards, who had three sacks before suffering a knee injury in the second half Sunday against Dallas, said he didn't do anything out of the ordinary in putting together one of the best performances of his four-year career. "I just went out there and ran my plays like my coach taught me, coach (Karl) Dunbar, so I just went out there and played my butt off for him," Edwards said. "I am just going to continue to work and I will be back next week 100 percent."
RB Adrian Peterson on Brett Favre's influence on Sunday's victory over Dallas: "He was the same way, just calm and relaxed. He's been here several times and he just was really leading the team."
WR Sidney Rice caught three touchdown passes against Dallas and said afterward he wasn't surprised the Vikings won in such one-sided fashion. "I feel like this is a good team and we're really not concerned about what other people think or what other people say about us," he said. "We know what we've got to do each and every week, and we came out here and proved it today."
LB Ben Leber had one of his best games against the Cowboys, getting an interception, fumble recovery and tackle for a loss, breaking up two passes and finishing tied for the team lead with nine tackles.
CB Karl Paymah had been a key special-teams contributor earlier this season, but he continues to be inactive on game days. Paymah initially missed time because of injury, but he has now been inactive for the past five games. He has not been listed on the injury report for several weeks.
CB Antoine Winfield saw increased playing time against Dallas as he was used in short-yardage base situations and also inside in the nickel defense. The Vikings have been looking for a way to get Winfield on the field but not play him full-time because he's still recovering from an injury to his right foot.