It's Vikings vs. Packers - Round 3Regional Sports
-- The Minnesota Vikings have five more days to relish their 37-34 season-ending victory over the Green Bay Packers – then, they have to do it all over again.
The Minnesota Vikings have five more days to relish their 37-34 season-ending victory over the Green Bay Packers – then, they have to do it all over again.
That win put the Vikings in the post season and forced the Packers to play a wild card game Saturday at 7 p.m. Central time. Minnesota will also have to recapture the magic on the road at Lambeau Field.
Packer coach Mike McCarthy isn’t stressed by the loss. His team made the playoffs, too, and he says they would have been ready to go no matter which opponent was waiting and no matter where the game would be played. The Packers will practice this afternoon, after a morning weightlifting session. The Saturday night showdown will be the third meeting between the two teams in the last month.
On the injury front, wide receiver Randall Cobb will be re-evaluated today, though the player is saying he expects to be ready to go Saturday. McCarthy says it’s not good news on defensive end Jerel Worthy, who was knocked out of the Viking game with a knee injury. Injuries to Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson don’t appear to be serious and there’s no official word on whether defensive back Charles Woodson might play in the post-season. He was sidelined with a broken collarbone two months ago.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy says he won’t decide until game-time who will return punts and kicks for the Packers in their playoff opener on Saturday night. Randall Cobb sat out yesterday’s loss at Minnesota with ankle-and-knee injuries. And first-year receiver Jeremy Ross had 127 return yards against the Vikings – including a 44-yard kickoff return and a 32-yard punt return. Even if Cobb is fully recovered, McCarthy says he’ll give both Cobb and Ross practice time with returns this week. The Packers have a return date with the Vikings – this time at Lambeau Field – in the first round of the playoffs. Despite yesterday’s three-point loss, McCarthy says there are nothing but positives as Green Bay enters the post-season. He said there’s something different about playing a team three times in a season, like they will against the Vikings – and he says the important thing is to get the fundamentals right. Because of the Saturday game, the Packers are doing all their weekday drills a day early. The players will start going over the game plan tomorrow afternoon.
Chicago Bears’ coach Lovie Smith was fired yesterday after nine seasons in the Windy City. When Smith was hired in 2004, he said one of his main goals was to beat the Green Bay Packers on a consistent basis. And he started off pretty well in that department, going 6-2 over Green Bay in his first four years. But in the last five years, Smith’s Bears only went 2-9 against the Pack – and that includes Chicago’s loss to Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game two years ago. All told, the 54-year-old Smith went 84-66 with the Bears. Chicago went 10-6 this year, but they failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season. The Bears were off to a 7-1 start this season before things went south – and they fell to the Packers in both their contests with Green Bay this season.
One of Brett Favre’s former quarterback coaches was fired today after 14 seasons as the head man at Philadelphia. Ex-Packer assistant Andy Reid was let go, after the Eagles went 4-12 this season. Owner Jeffrey Lurie put Reid on notice a year ago, when the team went 8-8. Today, Lurie said it’s time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Reid was an assistant in Green Bay for seven seasons under Mike Holmgren, until he became Philly’s head coach in 1999. Reid was Favre’s quarterback coach in 1997-and-’98, and was the tight ends and assistant offensive line coach for five years before that. Reid is the Eagles’ leader in wins with 140, and in winning percentage at .578. He led Philadelphia to six division crowns and five N-F-C Championship Games. Reid also took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004.