Packers hope 3rd time is charm vs Vikings
GREEN BAY - For the second time in four seasons, the Packers will play an opponent on Wildcard Weekend who they saw in week 17.
For the 18th time in NFL history, two teams that met in the final week of the season will do it again in the first round of the playoffs.
"I've never done something like it, so it's something new," said rookie tackle Don Barclay, who said he's never played any team twice in a row, at any level. "It's kind-off interesting just to go through it."
"It's execution, it's keeping a cool head, it's not letting the game play too fast because it is the playoffs," said fullback John Kuhn.
Teams that lost in the first of two meetings have gone on to win the second match-up nine out of the previous 17 times.
"They got the best of [us], they gave us their best shot," said Barclay. "They're going to battle again this week and we have to be ready for it."
In this case, it's a tiebreaker between two NFC North opponents who split two regular season meetings and have only met in the playoffs once before.
"The emotions will be high, it's a division game," said Kuhn. "They won't want to play us anymore than we want to play them back to back."
The Vikings sacked Aaron Rodgers 7 times in the regular season's two meetings. The Packers offensive line knows the constant pressure has to change in order to win round three.
"For us up front, it's making sure we're taking care of Aaron and letting him make plays with his arm," said guard T.J. Lang. "Last week we had a couple breakdowns there, so it's going to be a very important key for us this week."
"Offensive line play, it's usually a pretty dirty thing. That's just what we take pride in. It's never going to look really great but the ultimate goal is to get our running backs holes and keep guys off of Aaron," said tackle Marshall Newhouse.
Rodgers may be the 'X' factor in the game. In two contests against Minnesota this season, the reigning NFL MVP has thrown for 651 yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception.