NFC North: General Larry Platt

NEW ORLEANS -- Suffice it to say, Minnesota is one loose team here as the NFC Championship Game approaches. We’ve already hashed through the surprise appearance of General Larry Platt at their morning team meeting. Prior to that, coach Brad Childress made a relatively cheery appearance on live radio over at KSTP-1500.

I know everyone has an opinion about pregame motivation. In this case, mine is this: The Vikings absolutely won’t win this game if they’re tight, nervous or otherwise insecure at kickoff. They have a chance if they’re relaxed enough to hit the ground with both feet.

If you’re Childress, let New Orleans be the team that carries a heavy burden into this game. The Saints are at home, playing in a city that has counted on them for inspiration during its rebuilding process from Hurricane Katrina. As the cliché goes, they’ll be as serious as a heart attack for this game.

The Vikings will have their share of seriousness Sunday, anyway. Former coach Bud Grant is their honorary captain.

OK, thus ends my philosophical rant for the day. I’m set up at the Superdome, where a number of Vikings players -- receiver Percy Harvin among them -- are already warming up on the sidelines.

I’ll get you the Vikings’ inactive lists and any lineup changes by about 5:15 p.m. ET.
NEW ORLEANS -- Apparently Brett Favre’s rendition of “Pants on the Ground” last Sunday wasn’t good enough. Minnesota officials flew in the original American Idol singer, a man by the name of General Larry Platt, to perform the song in a team meeting Sunday.

Don’t believe me? Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie, currently the best beat reporter covering the team, revealed it in his Twitter page. Follow this link, which takes you to another link of McKinnie’s grainy cell phone video of the performance. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, meanwhile, tweeted this picture. Finally, here is another twitpic from receiver Bernard Berrian.

I hate to read too much into this, but I think it’s at least marginally interesting that the Vikings brought in Platt for their meeting while New Orleans had Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott speak at theirs, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols. A slightly disparate approach, to say the least.