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The Rivalry: Packers vs Vikings

By: Tanishka Mhaskar and Preet Shah
November 23rd, 2018
Your Minnesota Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers in primetime this Sunday night. Since it’s Packer’s week, we thought we would give you a refresher on our rivalry and history vs our neighbors.

Let’s kick it back to the start of this rivalry in 1961. This was the year the Minnesota Vikings had entered the league as an expansion team, in the pre-Super Bowl era (1961-1965). The Packers, led by head coach Vince Lombardi absolutely dominated the Vikings winning 9 of the 10 matchups. It should be noted the in the next two years in which the Packers won their first two Super Bowls, they were 2-2 against the Vikings.

The Vikings dominated the Packers in the 70s with a series record of 14-5-1. Going into the 70s, the Vikes had won the NFC Central for two straight years. They continued that dominance for another two until 1972 when the Packers finally took the crown. The Vikes also made the Super Bowl three times in the 70s, losing all of them in painful fashion.

Flash forward to the 90s. Everyone knows Randy Moss. The Hall of Fame wide receiver will receive his ring at halftime this Sunday. It does seem a bit fitting that Moss would receive his ring vs the Packers, as I don’t think any Vikings or Packers fans have forgotten the infamous moon game that caused Joe Buck to sneer at the “disgusting act.” Moss had his moments against the Packers, catching 73 passes for 1,320 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Things got bitter in 2008 when Packers QB Brett Favre expressed his distaste of the Packers management in a very public feud. Favre expressed his interest in playing for the Vikings, which drew the ire of many Packers fans who have not completely forgiven Favre for what had happened. Most of them seem to absolutely loathe the Vikings jersey that Favre has in his Hall of Fame locker. After Favre left the Packers for the Vikings by way of the Jets, who he played one season with, a unknown player by the name of Aaron Rodgers had to fill the gap left by the future Hall of Famer. Rodgers was a first round pick in 2005 who the Packers picked after he had slipped down the board to 25. Ironically, the Vikings had passed on him twice in this class, once at the 7th overall pick for Troy Williamson (they acquired this pick in the Randy Moss to Oakland trade), and again at pick number 18 where they had picked up Erasmus James.

After taking over as starter, Rodgers and the Packers dominated the NFC North from 2008 to 2013 with three NFC North titles and one Super Bowl. The Vikings won the division twice in this span (2008-2009), going 3-1 against the Packers. In 2010, when the Packers won the Super Bowl, they swept the Vikings. Rodgers dominance only continued until Mike Zimmer came to town.

Fresh after firing Leslie Frazier, the Vikings brought in another defensive minded head coach: Former defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Zimmer. Zimmer has proven to be a thorn in Rodgers side due to the fact that Rodgers' all time record against a Mike Zimmer led defense is 4-5-1. Zimmer's team had even retaken the NFC north crown in 2015 a year in which they had taken Aaron Rodgers and the Packers down in Lambeau Field to clinch the division. Both teams made the playoffs this season, the Vikings as the division champions and the Packers as the wild card team. The Vikings season ended a week later in the TCF Bank Stadium when former kicker Blair Walsh shanked a chip shot to the left vs the Seattle Seahawks. The Packers won their wild card game, but their season ended a week later at the hands of Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald, despite a successful last second Hail Mary thrown by the aforementioned Aaron Rodgers.

The 2017 season was one of the most spiteful seasons between these two organizations. The 4-1 Packers came to town to play the 3-2 Vikings, who were coming off of a thrilling win at Soldier Field. Nearly seven minutes into the game, Rodgers found himself lying on the turf, in pain, after a legal (depending on which teams fan you ask) Anthony Barr hit. The fans of both teams watched in anticipation, and a minute later, Rodgers got carted off with a dejected look on his face. He seemed to know that at that point that most, if not all, of his season was gone. With backup Brett Hundley the Packers never stood a chance, committing to three ugly turnovers. The Viking ended up winning 23-10. For weeks to come, the legality of the hit was debated on every sports TV show imaginable. On every social media outlet, linebacker Anthony Barr was told to kill himself and many accused that the hit was purposeful. After Aaron Rodgers appeared on the Conan O’Brien show, Anthony Barr had finally had enough of this accusations and came out a statement stating that he did not care if it was Aaron Rodgers or Mr. Rodgers but that the statement in question were slanderous and that Rodgers had the public “fooled." Rodgers only went on to play one more game that season which culminated in a loss vs the Carolina Panthers. After this game, since the Packers were already eliminated from contention, the team thought it best to rest their star and not risk him facing the vaunted Vikings defense. The next week at Lambeau, the Packers were shutout in a 16-0 loss. Meanwhile, the Vikings roller coaster season ended in Philadelphia in a blowout loss to the future Super Bowl champions.

The much anticipated week two matchup between these teams left fans of both teams yearning for more as it ended in a tie with controversial roughing the passer calls for both teams and a shanked game winning field goal opportunity by both teams. Now we wait for Sunday to watch Aaron Rodgers and company head to Minnesota for the first time since the infamous incident. Anthony Barr is waiting. SKOL