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NFC wild card is NFL’s version of Groundhog Day

Sat., Jan. 5, 2013, midnight

GREEN BAY, Wis. – It’s not just wild-card weekend in Minnesota and Green Bay.

It’s Groundhog Day.

Six days after facing off in the regular-season finale, and five weeks after their first meeting of the season, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are at it again tonight. This is no yawner of a sequel, though, not when the stakes are win or winter vacation.

“Like I tell the team, it doesn’t matter who comes out of that tunnel, I don’t care what color they have on,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s about fundamentals, matchups, and that’s what we’re focused on. We’re playing at home, it’s going to be a great environment. … The Vikings obviously have done a great job to get into the tournament, and we respect that, but this is a different deal.”

Minnesota (10-6) and Green Bay (11-5) split their first two meetings, with the Vikings’ victory last Sunday in Minneapolis giving them the last wild-card spot.

It also dropped the Packers from the No. 2 to the No. 3 seed, and forced the NFC North champs to work a weekend they were hoping to have off.

The Vikings game plan will be simple: Give the ball to Adrian Peterson and get out of the way.

That’s the plan pretty much every week, but particularly against Green Bay. He’s rushed for 409 yards in their two games.



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