Zimmer: No T-shirts for Green Bay rematch

The last time the Vikings prepared to face the Packers, Minnesota had started 7-2 and seemed to be ready to hold serve at home against Green Bay.

And then came the ill-advised T-shirt.

Beat Green Bay” declared the piece of clothing that awaited the Vikings following a road win against the Raiders. And then Green Bay proceeded not to beat Minnesota but to dismantle them, with a 30-13 defeat that was the first stumble in what became a 1-3 run.

Since narrowly losing earlier this month at Arizona (where Green Bay wasn’t beaten but blown out on Sunday), the Vikings have scored a pair of lopsided wins at home, outscoring the Bears and Giants by the combined margin of 87-34.

So will the T-shirts return for the Green Bay rematch?

“No T-shirts, no T-shirts this week,” Zimmer told reporters after Sunday night’s 49-17 thrashing of the Giants.

A tangible source of rah-rah may not be necessary this time around. The difference could come from the fact that the Vikings now realize they can compete with the Packers.

“I think we’re playing with confidence right now,” Zimmer said. “I think our guys feel good about the things we’re doing. I think they believe and half of the battle is believing. When I was in Cincinnati at the early stages of when I was there, we played somebody, a good football team, I can’t remember exactly who it was and they beat us that day and they said, ‘You know those guys, they have a good football team, they just have to believe.’ I talked to the defense about it and we started believing that we were a good football team. I think our guys believe that we are.”

That belief likely wasn’t there after losing badly at home to the Packers and Seahawks. But the vibe has since changed, with the spark possibly coming on a close-but-no-cigar effort against the Cardinals that apparently made the Vikings believe that they’re good enough to compete with the best teams in the conference.

Now, they have an opportunity to be the best team in the division.

“[I]f you would have told me in July that we’d have a chance the last game of the year to go January 3rd and play for a division title, I would have been excited about it,” Zimmer said. “It’s still going to come down to executing and doing the things right. We’ve said all along, we’ve played good on the road this year, but we haven’t beaten Green Bay, so that’s something we’ve got to get done.”

It’s something they may have to try to get done in consecutive weeks, depending on what happens between the Seahawks and Cardinals. An immediate wild-card rematch is possible, with the second game meaning a lot more than the first.

A win by the Vikings prevents a rubber match, however; with the Packers at 10-5 and the Seahawks at 9-6 and Green Bay holding the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to a win over Seattle way back in Week Two, a Packers loss means Seattle would be the No. 6 seed no matter whether the Seahawks win, lose, or tie in Week 17.

Which means that a win next Sunday night by the Vikings against one of the two teams that beat them at home this season would give the Vikings a shot at redemption against the other. After the 30-13 loss to the Packers, the Seahawks showed up and ran roughshod over the Vikings, 38-7.

The players and coaches may believe that those two outcomes will be different this time around. The team’s fans may be a little more skeptical, given the team’s recent history of failing to show up for big games — Arizona notwithstanding.

29 responses to “Zimmer: No T-shirts for Green Bay rematch

  1. If the Vikings win, a third game between the Vikings & Packers is extremely unlikely — would have to come in the NFC championship game.

  2. The way Green Bay has been playing it’s gonna be ugly for Packer fans. A once good franchise now plays like a Pop Warner team. What in the hell has happened to this team?

  3. Green Bay, Seattle, and Arizona — the best teams Minnesota has played this year, and the lost all 3 (and got beat badly in two). No matter how poorly Green Bay has been playing, Minnesota still needs to be them to show they are truly competitive in the NFC North and NFC in general. Looking for a better showing than last time.

  4. Teddy has made good progress in his 2nd year but he is not quite up to par with most or all the other playoff team quarterbacks. The defense, the running game, and the receivers are good enough for a playoff team. It comes down to the offensive line that simply cannot protect a quarterback who would need to have great protection and a great running game to go far in the playoffs.

  5. Minny OLine was built as run blocking around AP. Now they need rebuild as a pass blocking OLine to give Teddy time to throw. This is nice, but it’s not our year….yet. Good part is that it’s not the packers year either.

  6. Weird scenario: beat the Pack Sunday and Seattle looms, but lose and likely play the Skins.

    The Pack did beat the Vikes pretty solidly 6 weeks ago. Although the Pack O-line now looks even worse than ours, they’ve still got Rodgers, even if the Pack’s best offensive play the last 6 weeks seems to be the 40 yard pass interference call.

  7. DCviking: Vikings also beat the Chiefs and Falcons. Chiefs are playoff bound and the Falcons would be had we not beaten them.

    The Pack have only beaten one team over .500 at the time of the game.

    I’m not guaranteeing victory, but if both teams play their best, to their full ability/potential, MN wins by 10+.

  8. The Packers aren’t playing very well, and haven’t all year actually. I think there is a disconnect between Rodgers and McCarthy, I suspect Rodgers asked McCarthy to relinquish the play-calling, got his way, and now is pissed that he took it back.

    Regardless. Look at the records between these two teams. Rarely is there a lopsided victory one way or the other. This Sunday at Lambeau I will show the visiting fans the same respect we expect in return, and I will do my part to assist in a good game-day experience for them, like buy some beers for fans sitting nearby etc. It’s what I always do, despite the few loudmouth spoilers that always seem to show up. There are some in very crowd. A few idiots can’t influence me any differently than the attempts by the usual suspects on this site.

    If the Vikings win, I will support them as far as they can go. They represent our division.

    But……..I do not expect the Packers to roll over for this one. They aren’t very good this year, but they are the defending division champ, they have ten wins like their opponent, and they will put up a fight ready or not.

    Good luck to both.

  9. purplepackerhater says: Dec 28, 2015 1:56 PM

    DCviking: Vikings also beat the Chiefs and Falcons. Chiefs are playoff bound and the Falcons would be had we not beaten them.

    The Pack have only beaten one team over .500 at the time of the game.

    I’m not guaranteeing victory, but if both teams play their best, to their full ability/potential, MN wins by 10+.
    ……………………………………………………………………..

    if both teams play their best pack by 20. if the pack continue to play as they have the last half of the season, it wont be decided until the last 2 minutes. as much as I bleed green and gold, the only way either of these teams advance is if they play each other. the pack cant field a healthy o line and the queens have to play with the lead. it wont be a pretty game sunday night.

  10. I hope nobody thinks the Vikings lost to the Packers because of the T-shirts. The reason they lost was because they didn’t play well and the Packers played one of their best games of the season. I’m sure it will be a close game on Sunday. The Vikings seem to have figured out the intensity with which they need to play and the Packers always play their best against the Vikings. I have a feeling it will come down to one crazy play and we’ll be remembering this game for years.

  11. The Packers are like the big brother to the Vikings, they just know how to beat them up. Until the one day when the little brother turns the tables. But this weekend is probably not that day.

  12. Zimmer better bring the heat. Game plan should be to put as much pressure on Rogers as possible and tackle big Eddy at the legs before he bowls right through you.

  13. allight59 says:
    Dec 28, 2015 5:50 PM
    Enjoy the prime time appearance on Sunday, Packer fans, as they’ll be few and far between for the next decade or so……..
    /////////////////////////

    ……….said every Viking fan ever, every year, for the last twenty-five years.

  14. viking1961 says:
    Dec 28, 2015 9:36 PM
    small market franchise, outdated old stadium, grumpy, whiny coach, old QB, delusional fan base …. that is the packers….!
    ————————————————–
    slightly larger market franchise, outdated old RB, nothing else of value, delusional fan base …. that is the Vikings….!

  15. stellarperformance says:
    Dec 28, 2015 9:01 PM

    allight59 says:
    Dec 28, 2015 5:50 PM
    Enjoy the prime time appearance on Sunday, Packer fans, as they’ll be few and far between for the next decade or so……..
    /////////////////////////

    ……….said every Viking fan ever, every year, for the last twenty-five years.
    +++=====+++++++=====

    Which coincides with the start of the Brett Favre era which lead into the Rodgers era, and most Vikings fans will acknowledge you’ve had a good run, but it’s entirely due to your luck with back to back franchise HOF QBs. GB rested on their laurels when it came to building the rest of their team and are now beginning to see the results.

    Sunday is a win win for the Vikes.

    If we lose, we’re still on an upward trajectory, likely get an easier playoff game and get to watch Seattle tear GB up in the first round.

    If we win, we’re the top dog in the division, our QB will finish 11-5 in only his 2nd season, and we’ll get to beat GB again the following week at home this time and potentially get a home championship game.

  16. Predictions of a downward trend for Packers is more wishful thinking by the Viking fans. The Packers will have Ty and Jordy back next year, and they have two very good rookie DB’s. They’ll pick up some O-line help in the draft.

    The Packers are the third youngest team in the NFL. Combine that fact with a recent history of fielding good teams.

    Why would that suddenly change? Because Viking fans want it to change?

    Good luck with that.

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