The Vikings improved to 7-2 and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North with Sunday’s 30-14 win in Oakland, but they got a clear message that there wasn’t a lot of time to revel in that win when they reported to the team facility on Monday.
Players got to their lockers to find t-shirts with the NFC logo and “North” on the front and “Beat Green Bay” on the back waiting for them. The Vikings and Packers will meet in Minneapolis next Sunday afternoon in a game that will have much to do with how the division race plays out this season. A Vikings win would put them two games and a tiebreaker up on the Packers and give Green Bay a fourth-straight loss in a season that’s taken a wrong turn of late.
While defensive end Brian Robison said he didn’t need a shirt to provide a reminder of what’s at stake this week, rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs appreciated the reminder that the Vikings can’t start patting themselves on the back after nine games.
“[It is] not so much this game, but … what we got going on and how much more serious this is about to get,” Diggs said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Of course it’s going to be a serious game. Of course coach is going to be even tighter this week to keep at it. Our record and what we’re doing right now, you can’t take a break and lighten up. You gotta continue to grind and grind even harder to be honest.”
The Vikings are 1-9-1 against the Packers since the start of the 2010 season, so, even with the Packers stuck in a rut of late, it will likely take more than sartorial choices to get a victory this time around.