(Photo courtesy: www.gamedaygold.com.)
Did it have to be the Packers?
Yes, it did. As a result, the Vikings are out of the Super Bowl Derby once again, this time in a first-round 24-10 knockout administered by the team from Green Bay.
What are the football experts saying on the Monday morning after? Here's a quick look:
First, to Pioneer Press writer Tom Powers, who points out that the good Karma simply came to an end: "After a regular season in which so many things went right, good fortune simply went on holiday."
With Joe Webb subbing for the injured Christian Ponder, Star Tribune writer Jim Souhan thought a bit of creativity was in order to keep things close. In other words, a lot of Webb scampers as seen in the first drive of the game, which ended in a Blair Walsh field goal. But as Souhan writes: (Offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave asked one of the fastest quarterbacks in the game to stand still.
PiPress writer Bob Sansevere thinks Webb was in way over his head as the game progressed, and had a clear message to fans who think the backup is better than the current starter: "Webb left no doubt that the Vikings need to go find a legitimate backup quarterback for next season."
Should Ponder have played through the pain? It's a question posed on Eric Nelson's www.gamedaygold.com website. As he put it: "Can you imagine someone like Brett Favre – who constantly played through pain in his 20-year NFL career – not playing in a game where the stakes are so high..?"
The out of town take? For that, it's off to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Bob McGinn, who wrote that Webb -- is no Christian Ponder: "Webb seemed to look at the defense as coordinated by Dom Capers as if it were a maze ... and turned in a dreadful performance.