Rapid Reaction: Vikings 34, Cowboys 3

MINNEAPOLIS -- The NFC’s season-long dream matchup is now a reality.

New Orleans and Minnesota will square off next Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, thanks to Minnesota’s thorough dismantling of Dallas at the Metrodome. Receiver Sidney Rice (three touchdowns) and a dominating pass rush (six sacks, three turnovers) simply overwhelmed what had been a red-hot Cowboys team.

It will be Minnesota’s first appearance in the NFC Championship Game since the 2000 season.

The Vikings were a confident team all year at the Metrodome, where they finished 9-0 and scored at least 27 points in every game. They are 4-4 on the road and will need every bit of the pass rush they displayed Sunday to slow down New Orleans’ explosive offense.

There have been some wild Vikings-Saints games at the Superdome recently, as we discussed Saturday. But let’s slow down here. We have plenty of time to talk about the delicious pending matchup. For now, let’s agree that the Vikings just dismantled a popular recent pick to win the Super Bowl.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Vikings’ decision to leave their starters in the game and throw into the end zone on fourth down with 1:55 remaining. But with the Saints looming, it’s clear that coach Brad Childress wasn’t about to let his foot off the gas.

More in a few hours.