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Here's why I have more feel for Packers-Vikings

It's OK to feel relaxed, confident


Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, here's a Thanksgiving question: For what are you most grateful?

Happiness. It's the result of everything else in our lives. If you have happiness, your life is good.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Vic, you often mention Capers has been digging deep into his playbook as his players develop. Do you think we'll see any unscouted looks coming into December?

Coaches always save a little for that special moment, but December football is about doing what you do best. It's about playing to your identity, not to unscouted looks.

Daniel from Clarksville, TN

The reason the Packers-Vikings rivalry has been more pronounced in recent years started when Brett Favre went to Minnesota and beat the Packers for the first time. Hence, the rivalry feel, even though Favre is long gone from football. The question is, since Favre's departure, why has the anger and hate toward the Vikings continued with such fervent passion?

I wasn't here for the Favre years. What I can tell you is that in the four years I've covered the Packers, the games against the Vikings have provided me with more memorable games and plays than the games against the Bears and Lions have. That's why this game means more to me than the others. I wouldn't be surprised if Sunday's game provided more special memories.

Jeremiah from South Bend, IN

Vic, I'm looking forward to seeing how much Eddie Lacy impacts the Vikings' efforts on defense. Blitz pick up and screen plays could have a huge impact on their pass rush. Thoughts?

The Vikings like to get up the field. The screen pass is meant as a counter to teams that like to get up the field.

Ben from Hudson, WI

Vic, does a player's media requirements vary widely, or is it pretty standard to have that in a contract?

It's part of the standard player's contract that a player cooperate with league policy on media interviews.

Corey from Milton, WI

Aside from the points you noted, I think it's at zero to indicate overtime, fitting for "Ask Vic Extra."

You're right. How could I be so stupid?

Pat from Altoona, WI

Vic, what may come as a surprise during this Sunday's game against the Vikings?

Well, if I knew, it wouldn't be a surprise, so I'll put it this way: I wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings tried to move the pocket with Teddy Bridgewater, and I wouldn't be surprised if Sunday's game turns out to be a lot closer than most fans expect it to be.

Charlie from Waukesha, WI

The Vikings' rivalry is bigger. The reason is the Vikings have had the most recent success against the Packers. When one team consistently wins, the rivalry is diminished. Since the Packers have been kicking Chicago's butt since 1993, that rivalry is less pronounced, no matter how good it feels to beat them.

The Packers' rally to tie the Vikings last season is a game I won't forget. Adrian Peterson's performance in the Vikings' win in 2012, and his performance in the loss at Lambeau Field earlier in the season, are games I won't forget. Cordarrelle Patterson's kickoff return last year and Micah Hyde's punt return in that game are memorable plays. I just get more feel for this rivalry than I do for the other ones. Here's something else: In the Metrodome, the press box was exposed to the fans. They'd walk by and shout at us, etc. It gave me a feeling of sitting in the stands. It was different for me and I kind of liked it. I think that was also part of the special feel I developed for Packers-Vikings games.

Braden from Denver, CO

Vic, I'm curious of your take on the Wisconsin beat down of Nebraska. How does a defensive-minded head coach allow a team to run for 500-plus yards on him? Is it players not making plays? Or is it scheme?

College football puts its best players on offense and, in most programs, that often creates a talent gap between offense and defense. Also, NCAA reductions in practice time have really hurt the college product.

Craig from Temperance, MI

With some money left over this year, it's time to lock in Cobb before the year is up. Your thoughts?

I never concern myself about this stuff because I know the Packers have a plan and whatever that plan is, it will have been the right thing to do. Look at recent decisions: Greg Jennings, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Scott Wells, to name a few. My inbox was in a state of panic to re-sign those guys. Where would the Packers' cap be today if they had re-signed all of them? Part of keeping your cap healthy is making difficult decisions. Whatever they decide on Randall Cobb, it'll likely be the right thing to do because it will dovetail with other decisions to create an overall state of roster and salary cap health.

Justin from Philadelphia, PA

Every time we play against a team we're expected to beat, you warn us to not sleep on that team and to temper expectations. You've expressed that sentiment at least about the Jets, Dolphins, Panthers, Vikings, as well as others. Is it ever OK to go into a game with some actual bravado?

I don't remember expressing that opinion about the previous Vikings or Panthers games. I don't know how bravado helps a team or its fan base prepare for a game, but I think it's fine to be relaxed and confident. Let's take a look at the "Final Thoughts" video from the last Vikings game.

Mike from Franklin, WI

Vic, have you been to "The Bank," yet? Although it's on the small side, it's quite a nice venue right in the heart of campus. Enjoy the trip!

I'm looking forward to it. This will push the count of stadiums in which I've covered NFL games deep into the seventies.

Carl from Dickinson, ND

It won't be cold by Minnesota-in-late-November standards, but the forecast shows almost certain rain. How might this affect each team?

Cold rain, huh? Brrrrr. Give me a big back and a quarterback with big hands. The Packers have both. I hope they keep the press box warm. I get chilled easily.

Rob from Brookeville, MD

What's your prediction for percentage of Packers fans in TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday? Do you think the outdoors and a fair proportion of Packers fans will neutralize any homefield advantage?

I'm gonna make it at about 50-50. It should feel like a neutral-site game.

Nik from Eagan, MN

I'm not sure if Packers fans are the classiest, most polite or most winsome in the league, but I do know they can handle the cold as well as any other fans in the league. I think we have more of an advantage playing at TCF Bank Stadium vs. the Metrodome. At the very least, I don't expect pumped-in stadium noise to be an issue for this game, and based on the number of tickets I am seeing for sale, there may be more green and gold in the crowd than usual.

The last time I covered a game outdoors in Minnesota, it was at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. It's possibly the worst stadium in which I've covered an NFL game. It was truly awful in every way, even in the 1970s. The Metrodome was state of the art for a dome when it was first opened, but it got old in a hurry because dome design evolved rapidly. The Vikings franchise has never had the advantage of calling a great stadium home. When the new one opens, they will. I'm going to be very interested to see how that changes the landscape of professional football in Minnesota.

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