EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - This Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings have a date with NFL royalty, but when the team arrives in New England, they don't plan to kiss any rings.
"We're not going to get caught up in that whole scenario, but we're just going to get caught up in us playing good football," said running back Dalvin Cook.
While the Vikings say there is no fear of the New England Patriots, there is still plenty of respect and it all begins with quarterback Tom Brady.
"He's the G. O. A. T., he's the G. O. A. T., you got to give respect where respect is due,” said Everson Griffen, defensive end. “He's the G. O. A. T. Five Super Bowl rings. They're in the playoffs every year, so he's a large part of the team's winning and he's the G. O. A. T. and we got to go out there and play our best game to beat one of the best."
Their best game will have to involve rattling Brady as much as possible because so many times during his Hall of Fame career, when no. 12 gets time to throw, the results are often devastating.
"You can't let him get into a rhythm,” said Griffen. “We have to be able to stop the run and you know and affect him. If that's by blitzing him or with the front four rush up the middle - whatever we have to do to affect the quarterback and get him on the ground."
The Patriots have had 17 consecutive winning seasons, winning five Super Bowls in that time frame. Head Coach Bill Belichick has led the way for New England and while a chess match awaits Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer, he says Belichick's coaching style is one to be praised.
"I have a lot of respect for him, in the fact that his team's area extremely disciplined,” said Zimmer. “They don't beat themselves. To be able to maintain and sustain the success that they've had year in and year out and different players and injuries and things like that - I think that's a credit to coaching."
Zimmer told reporters that there is a good chance cornerback Xavier Rhodes plays on Sunday, however Rhodes did not practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. If Rhodes can't play, expect Holton Hill to be the next man up in the Minnesota secondary.