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Are the Vikings destiny's darlings?

Packers, fans preparing for Saturday night playoff game at Lambeau Field


Justin from Rochester, MN

I think you and your reader who posted the question calculated your tiebreakers wrong. Had Seattle lost the "Fail Mary" game, the Bears still would have missed the playoffs.

You're right. The Bears lost to the Seahawks and that gave the Seahawks the tiebreaker. I apologize for my lack of interest on this subject but I just don't see where anybody was wronged to the point that they couldn't have corrected the injustice. A lot of teams lose games on bad calls. How about the playoff game between the 49ers and Packers? Is that any different? That's a greater injustice because it was a playoff game and there was no fixing it. The Seattle game was Week 3. The Packers could've fixed that injustice by winning one more game, which they would've done had they not blown a big lead in Indianapolis. The Bears could've fixed the problem by merely beating the Seahawks in Chicago, instead of letting them go the length of the field in the final seconds of regulation. What team got hurt in such a way that it didn't have time or the opportunity to recover? I think we're using the "Fail Mary" as a crutch. It's starting to become whiny. My solution to the problem is win in the postseason. That fixes everything.

Hope from Osceola, WI

The way the Vikings looked on Sunday scared me. In my opinion, they had a Giants-like quality to them. What are you expecting to see when we play them on Saturday?

They don't remind me of the Giants. They remind me of an old-fashioned ball-control, field-position football team. They'll do on Saturday what they try to do in every game: Pound the ball with Adrian Peterson, convert third down and go back to the run. When those kinds of teams are on their game and are able to execute that style of football, it's as though they're playing to the "Minute Waltz," but it's a very exacting style of play; there is no room for error.

Conor from Glen Mills, PA

Not to be a stickler, but by saying the Packers are picking 27th, are you saying we will lose in the divisional round? Aren't the last 12 spots determined by playoff success?

The NFL sent out a press release on Monday that announced the draft order, as it currently stands according to teams' records and the tiebreakers. According to that release, the Packers would draft 27th and the Seahawks would pick 26th, if the draft were held today. When the postseason is over, the order will be adjusted: The Super Bowl winner will pick last and the loser will pick next to last. The conference title game losers will pick 29th and 30th, according to the reverse order of their standing. The divisional round losers will select 25th through 28th, and the wild-card round losers will select 21st through 24th.

James from Wausau, WI

Firing Lovie Smith after a winning season? Where's the loyalty? Why do they always blame it on the coach?

It's the most effective way to quiet the wolves. Fans have a very loud voice. I wish they would use it more carefully. The wolves have caused a lot of regrettable decisions. I can immediately think of one.

Bill from Lakeland, MN

Nothing wrong with Landon from Coeur d'Alene's stats. He was obviously referring to the Total QBR; Ponder's average over the last three games is 90.0, while Rodgers' is 80.9.

I don't acknowledge that rating system. Any ratings mechanism that suggests Aaron Rodgers isn't playing at an elite level is worthless.

Perry from Beloit, WI

This may sound a little crazy, but do you think the Packers would employ a 4-4 defense or a 3-5 defense to load the box to stop Peterson and make Ponder beat you? What are your thoughts?

The Packers had nine guys up against the run on Peterson's last run of the game, the one that set up the game-winning field goal and nearly went the distance. I think we spend way too much time on plays and not enough time appreciating the drama of human confrontation and achievement. Elite players play above the X's and O's. Perry, you witnessed greatness on Sunday. One day you will look back on it with fondness and you'll delight in telling the next generation of Packers fans what you saw. Forget about strategy for a minute and make sure you fully absorb what your eyes saw. Everybody knew he was getting the ball and they couldn't stop him. He was effectively playing against an 11-man front.

Niklas from Cologne, Germany

With "Black Monday" now behind us and quite a few new open coaching positions available around the league, my question is, what happens with the money a coach is owed for maybe another season that he was under contract?

If the fired coach decides to go fishing, the team that fired him owes him the money in his contract that is guaranteed, which is usually his salary for the years remaining on his contract. If he takes a job with another team, however, the team that fired him owes him the difference of his old salary and his new salary.

Landon from Coeur d'Alene, ID

Touche, Mr. Ketchman. Just hate losing to the Vikings and don't want it to happen again.

I don't think it will.

Andy from Stillwater, MN

Vic, I'm really surprised you can possibly say the Vikings will lose to the Packers on Saturday. We've outplayed them twice this year and you were the luckiest team in the NFL to win that first meeting. AP and Ponder are always up for the Packers. The Packers are the worst tackling team in the NFL and are afraid of any contact. You will be lucky to lose by fewer than 10 points on Saturday.

I don't agree.

Will from Mt. Laurel, NJ

Would you trade Aaron Rodgers for Adrian Peterson?

You don't trade a franchise quarterback for a running back.

Tony from Glendora, CA

Why isn't the defense blitzing more on third and long against Ponder?

How did the blitz work for Michigan against South Carolina yesterday? They were in an all-out blitz to sack the South Carolina quarterback and push the Gamecocks out of field goal range in the final seconds of the game and while protecting a one-point lead, but the blitz didn't get home and the quarterback threw a touchdown pass to win the game. Do you think Brady Hoke regrets having blitzed? Folks, blitz doesn't mean sack. More often than not, the blitz doesn't get home, and when that happens, you're vulnerable in coverage.

Steve from Hyde Park, OH

Rodgers discussed overcoming the initial surge in his postgame presser. If the home team generally has a surge to begin, why defer? Take the ball, go after points, quiet the surge immediately. Get the ball in the Packers' best player's hands, don't give it to theirs.

That's a sound philosophy. Frankly, I was surprised Mike McCarthy deferred on Sunday; I thought he'd take the ball. I have, however, detected in Coach McCarthy a penchant for deferring. I think he's a coach that really values getting the ball to start the second half. Hey, it's hard to argue with what he did because the Packers moved right down the field for a touchdown to start the second half. What if he had taken the ball to start the game and went three and out and then kicked off to start the second half? I can't fault his decision.

Dave from Aurora, CO

Since all turnovers are reviewed, does it seem to you like the refs are calling more fumbles when things are close, to sort of buy themselves time under the hood?

That's exactly what they did on the James Jones fumble at the goal line that was reversed to a touchdown after replay review. What if replay hadn't offered a good view of the play? I think we've become too dependent on replay review, but I also believe that's a trend that's going to continue.

Tanner from LeRoy, IL

My opinion is close to the witnessing greatness article you wrote. I think the only thing that hurts is that Peterson didn't get the record. I wish he had gotten those nine yards, just so we could say we were there to see it happen. Don't you?

The way it turned out, with the Packers losing on a field goal, I think I'd rather have the story of Peterson's record-breaking run to recount in the grill room following a round of golf when I'm retired. Here's what I find fascinating: If a movie was made in which the running back breaks loose on a long touchdown run to set the all-time rushing record and put his team in the playoffs, all on his last carry of the season, the critics would kill it for being too hokey. I'm not sure I would've believed it had I seen it happen. This is what has me most concerned about the Vikings. Are they destiny's darlings?

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