December 28, 1996 in Sports

It’s Aikman Vs. Johnson In Nfc Wild Card

Associated Press

If experience dealing with playoff pressure means anything, the Dallas Cowboys have a huge advantage at quarterback over the Minnesota Vikings in today’s NFC wild-card game.

The defending Super Bowl champions have Troy Aikman, 10-1 as a starter in playoff games. According to coach Barry Switzer, he has been throwing the ball better in practice this week than he has all season.

The Vikings are counting on Brad Johnson, who only became a starter when Warren Moon got hurt and never has started in a playoff game.

Johnson said he’ll try to forget his inexperience.

“This is something I’ve been hoping for,” he said. “I want to make my mark. I’ve been in this system for five years. I think I’m ready.”

So do the Vikings, who recently signed Johnson to a four-year, $15.5 million contract because the 40-year-old Moon is injury prone. Moon is healthy enough to start, but will back up Johnson today.

“There have been 14 other quarterbacks I’ve had to deal with since I’ve been at Minnesota,” Johnson said. “I’ve had to battle every year to keep my job. Now, this is just another challenge.”

Vikings coach Dennis Green sees a confident Johnson: “Brad is poised and unflappable and he has an accurate arm. He has the ability to perform in the playoffs.”

Asked about Aikman, Green said, “Troy is like Joe Montana used to be. He hits another gear in the money games.”

The Cowboys, seeking their fourth Super Bowl win in five years, are 10-point favorites. The Vikings are 0-3 in the playoffs under Green.

If Minnesota wins, it would play at Green Bay on Jan. 4. If Dallas wins, it will play at Charlotte on Jan. 5.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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