EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Suggesting Brett Favre’s team is a bit under the radar might never be accurate, but the Minnesota Vikings aren’t exactly hogging the headlines as they begin the playoffs.
They had a bye in the first round, for one. The chatter about Favre’s offensive authority and coexistence with coach Brad Childress has quieted, for now.
And with three flaw-exposing losses in their last five games, Minnesota lost some luster as a fashionable Super Bowl pick while some of the other NFC qualifiers finished strong.
Here comes their first opponent, Dallas, now as trendy a choice to win the championship as any team still alive after consecutive blowouts of rival Philadelphia.
‘‘That’s fine. I don’t think anybody in this locker room is concerned about if we are the underdog or we’re the favorites,’’ Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said. ‘‘We’re concerned about getting a good week of preparation in.’’
When the Vikings reconvened for practice on Sunday and started taking questions from the media about the matchup, some of their more colorful characters were a little snarky when asked about the attention surrounding the Cowboys.
Dallas ended a 13-year run without a playoff victory by drubbing the Eagles on Saturday night. Quarterback Tony Romo, a bruising running game and a tough defense have helped the Cowboys win four straight games.
‘‘I’ll be honest: I’m probably one of the few people in the world who don’t watch Romo every day. I know it’s sad. Sorry, Tony,’’ defensive end Jared Allen said, smiling into a television camera.
Allen even joked that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should give the Vikings some extra money to build a new stadium, which they’re trying to do. Dallas, of course, opened perhaps the most extravagant venue in sports this season, a billion-dollar showplace complete with an spaceship-sized scoreboard.
‘‘I know the media loves the Dallas Cowboys and it’s America’s team, but we’ve got a pretty good team over here,’’ Allen said. ‘‘That’s all I’m concerned about.’’
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and defensive tackle Pat Williams had some fun with the stadium comparison, too. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, now officially prefaced by Mall of America Field, is 28 years old and free of frills.
‘‘That’s the suburbs down there. This is the ’hood,’’ Shiancoe said. ‘‘We’re old school. Everything is manual around here. Even when we put down our windows, we’ve got to crank them by hand.’’
Williams even threw in a plug for Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.
‘‘They have to come to Zygi Hood. You’ve got Jerry World down there,’’ he said.
Williams was raised in Louisiana and played in college at Texas A&M, but unlike Texas native and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson he wasn’t a Cowboys fan as a youth.
‘‘I didn’t grow up a nobody fan,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I’m a momma’s fan. That’s it. That was my hero growing up.’’
As he does each week, regardless of the stakes or the opponent, Williams touted Minnesota’s staunch run defense and dared Dallas to send Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice into the teeth of the line.
‘‘They have to come here and do it. They ran on Philly, but that’s Philly,’’ Williams said. ‘‘We’re the Vikings.’’
His fellow linemate, Kevin Williams, was a little more diplomatic.
‘‘They have a solid defense. They’re doing great things on offense,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re ready to play already. I mean, I don’t know how much more we can pump ’em up. They’re a good team. It’s going to be a good game. Hopefully they bring their ’A’ game, we’ll bring ours and have a good game.’’
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