Green Bay, Wis. — A month ago, the Vikings seemed to be spiraling out of control and on the verge of losing their season.
Turned out, there was nothing better to get their attention back on the field than playing their hated rival Green Bay.
The Packers, trying to avoid slinking in the abyss of the NFC North, are looking to return the favor tonight.
"We're both kind of fighting for our lives right now," said Green Bay kicker Ryan Longwell. "To have any shot at the playoffs, it's a game we both need."
The two have become accustomed to playing for the top of the division each time they meet. Now, they're just looking to stay afloat. Minnesota seems to have a better shot at turning its season around at 4-5, but the Packers insist they're not out of it at 2-7.
"There's going to be a lot more emotion in this game than there probably has been all season, not just from the rivalry that we have and the dislike that I think both teams have for each other, but also the way the last game played out," said Packers tackle Mark Tauscher. "We definitely feel like we owe them one."
That last game included a collapse by the Packers that dampened hopes they had turned a corner after a dismal start to the season.
Down 17-0 at halftime, the Vikings scored each time they touched the ball in the second half, the last time a three-play drive that ended with Paul Edinger's winning 56-yard field goal, the longest in team history.
"Every time you play against Green Bay, something crazy happens," said Minnesota quarterback Brad Johnson.
That ending was nothing new in this series.
The last six regular-season games have been decided by six points or less; the last three were won on last-second field goals.
Not included in that count is Green Bay's 31-17 loss at home to Minnesota in the first round of last year's playoffs. The game will be forever known for Randy Moss' final gesture to Packers fans - a fake mooning in the end zone after a touchdown, complete with him rubbing his rear end on the Green Bay goalpost.