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Vikings vs. Packers: Week 17 preview

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The Minnesota Vikings (9-6) can secure a playoff spot with a victory over the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome, the Associated Press reports. If the Vikings fall short of a win, they would need Chicago, Dallas and the New York Giants to lose.

Q) What's the difference between a Packer fan and a baby?

A) The baby will stop whining after awhile.

It's those type of lame (but incredibly funny) jokes that makes Vikings-Packers week so enjoyable.

Even better: A home regular-season finale with two huge plotlines: Playoff jockeying for both teams (Green Bay can get a bye, while the Vikes are just trying to get in) and Adrian Peterson is still chasing the NFL single-season rushing record (the offensive line wants AP to get it). writer Mike Wobschall points out those and seven other vital plot lines to follow. Our favorite: Can the Vikings defense -- especially Jared Allen -- put pressure on Aaron Rodgers? In 10 games against Green Bay, Allen has 15 sacks.

Chris Cook, back from a broken arm, is looking for redemption against the Packers. He had two terrible games against the Pack in his rookie season, and missed both contests last year while under suspension. He tell the Star-Tribune Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL, a "crazy-accurate" player who can"put balls in places the other guys can't put it."

So far, the line in Las Vegas has the Packers as 3.5 point favorites. That number may shrink slightly now that Packers cornerback Charles Woodson has been ruled out (broken collarbone), but Green Bay will still be favored to win -- and extend its regular season winning streak to 12 games over NFC North opponents.

Ex-Vikings superstar Fran Tarkenton says this is a winnable game for Minnesota, especially if Christian Ponder plays as well as he did at Houston. In his words: "I think this will be one of the great Vikings-Packers games, a dramatic edition of a classic rivalry."

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