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Packers-Vikes Rivalry

Packers-Vikes Rivalry




Throughout the 48-year history of the Packers - Vikings rivalry, there have been some special moments, but probably none that will live up to this weekend's events. An aging Viking leader returns with a new band of men, looking to plunder the very homeland he once loved.




The word Viking is Scandinavian for "pirate", an appropriate description of our former hero gone astray. Like the Vikings of the eigth and ninth centuries, Brett The Grey and his band of marauders will be trying to claim a foreign land for their own - in this case, Lambeau Field.


Residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin certainly have a deep-rooted interest in this battle. Packers fans and Vikings fans have always had a special dislike for each other. As bordering states, there was a natural competitiveness between people of the two states. When close-to-Wisconsin Minneapolis-St. Paul suddenly became host to a professional football team, many fans, including those in Western Wisconsin, had a difficult choice to make. As fans made their choices, resentment built and friends became enemies. The Green Bay loyalists sneered at the Vikings converts and the new Vikings fans became jealous of the Packers as their dominance of the 1960s became a sore point.


The Minnesota Vikings entered the NFL in 1961 as the 14th franchise in League history, but not without a few interesting twists. The Minnesota team was originally slated to be one of the 8 charter members of the new American Football League, and had even completed the college draft. But the NFL saw great potential for a team in Minneapolis, and the prospective owners were lured away from the AFL by the promise of an NFL franchise.  The Oakland Raiders took Minnesota's place in the AFL, and automatically inherited all of their draft choices.


Bert Rose, the first GM of the Minnesota franchise, chose the Vikings nickname to embrace the area's heavy Scandanavian population and then set about looking for a head coach. Ara Parsegian was his first choice, but when that didn't work out, he hired Norm Van Brocklin, who had just beaten the Packers in the NFL Championship the year before and had retired as a player.


The irony of that choice was not lost on Vince Lombardi, and beating Van Brocklin and the Vikings became another obsession for Vince. They were fierce rivals as coaches, engaging in many shouting matches, as both teams occupied the same side of the field in those stadiums.


Van Brocklin delighted in giving Lombardi a hard time and played up the David vs Goliath role to his players. Lombardi was convinced that Van Brocklin was instructing Viking players to try to injure the Packers players whenever possible. When Jerry Kramer broke his leg in a  game vs. the Minnesota Vikings, Lombardi had one of his most famous tirades. Both Packers and Vikings players have stated throughout the years that the Vikings never purposely tried to injure the Packers players, but they did play hard and tough against those elite Packers teams.


But in the late 60's, as Vince Lombardi exited and Bud Grant entered, the rivalry would begin to turn on it's head. During the 70's, the Packers would win only four out of 20 games against the Vikings. Suddenly the Packers fans were jealous and Vikings fans were sneering. That decade was when the rivalry grew some nasty teeth among Packers fans.


In the 48-year history of this rivalry, the Packers hold a slight winning edge at 49-46-1. There have been many special moments, but lets take a look at just a few:

1961, The First Season

In the first year of the Vikings existence, a scheduling quirk matches up the Packers and Vikings for two consecutive weeks. The first-ever meeting between these two teams was played before a sellout crowd at Metropolitan Stadium, with the Packers entering the game as 17 point favorites. Norm Van Brocklin joked that he would petition the league to reschedule the game in a few weeks, so that Paul Hornung and Ray Nitschke would miss it due to military commitments. The game was played on schedule and the score at halftime was a surprisingly close 13-7. Vince Lombardi must of had a few choice words for the Packers at halftime, because they came out a different team and rolled over the Vikings 33-7. The very next week, playing at City Stadium in Green Bay, the Packers would beat the Vikings 28-10 in a driving rainstorm. After that second game, the Vikings record stood at 1-6 while the Packers were 6-1 and on their way to winning their first NFL championship under Vince Lombardi.

1972, Packers Clinch Division Title

When the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings met on a frigid December Sunday in Minnesota, the Packers success of the 60s and their domination of the Vikings were nothing more than fond memories. Coming into this game, the Vikings had won seven of their  last eight meetings. With a game time temperature of zero degrees and a wind-chill of minus 18, this would be a game where the running game would dominate. Fortunately for the Packers, they had the bruising tandem of John Brockington and MacArthur Lane on their side. While neither team could mount much offense in the first half, the Packers running game and some key turnovers helped the Packers take control of the game in the second half. Brockington and Lane finished with 114 and 99 yards, respectively. Willie Buchanon had two interceptions and his fellow cornerback, Ken Ellis, also had one. With this win, Brockington would reach the 1000 yard mark for the second straight season and the Packers clinched the division title for 2nd-year coach Dan Devine.

1998, Green Bay, Meet Randy Moss

On a rainy October Monday night at Lambeau, Randall Cunningham introduced the Packers and a National TV audience to their newest heart-breaker, Randy Moss. Although only catching 5 passes on the night, Moss gained 190 yards, including two long TDs against undersized and over-matched Packer CB Tyrone Williams. Randal Cunningham threw for 4 TDs and 442 yards on only 20 completions. "This was the greatest night in my football career," Cunningham would say after the game. It was one of the worse nights for the Packers, as they lost 37-24 and their secondary was thoroughly embarrassed on National TV.

1995, T.J. F'ing Rubley

The Minneapolis Metrodome had been developing the reputation of being a house of horrors for the Wolf-Holmgren Era in green Bay. The Packers game on Nov 5th solidified the feeling and sparked talk of a Metrodome "curse." In a crazy game that included four turnovers in the last 5 minutes, the Packers went down to defeat, 27-24 to the foot of Fuad Reveiz In this game, Bret Favre was injured and missed the last third of the game. Hi replacement, Ty Detmer, and defensive ends Reggie White and Sean Jones were all injured in the 4th quarter. Despite everything, the Packers had an opportunity to win this game. With under a minute left and the game tied 24-24, the Packers found themselves at the Viking 38 yard line with third down and a foot to go. Third string quarterback T.J. Rubley, who had fumbled the snap on his first play from scrimmage, called the play in the huddle from Coach Holmgren - a quarterback sneak. Holmgren wanted to get a first down, run the clock down, setup a field goal and escape with a road win. Unfortunately, Mr. Rubley had other ideas. As he got to the line of scrimmage, he saw the Vikings stacking the box and decided to audible to a pass. He found nobody open, but threw the ball anyway and it was intercepted. The Vikings then took the ball down the field and won the game as time ran out on a Reveiz field goal. After the game, Rubley would say he had no problem with the decision to audible and would do it again, since he thought he was doing what he had been coached to do. His coach, however, seemed to disagree, as Rubley was quickly cut from the team. After the game, Ron Wolf was uncharacteristically angry at the loss and the team's troubles at the Metrodome. “We’re sick and tired of Fuad Reveiz deciding the outcome of the game,” Wolf said. “All this B.S., ‘Wait until next year,’ is meaningless. The bottom line is, when you’re playing a division opponent, you have to beat that division opponent. I don’t care where it is.” The ugly loss seemed to spark the Packers, as they would go on to win six of their last seven games to finish 11-5 and win the division title for the first time since 1972.


For those of you who still feel the need to vent your anger, there is a facebook page  for those who despise T.J. Rubley

2000. The Immaculate Deflection

On a cold, windy, rainy, November Monday Night at Lambeau Field, one of the most amazing and improbable catches in NFL history sent the Packers home a winner. The Packers came into the game under rookie head coach Mike Sherman with a 3-5 record, while the Vikings were 7-1. Despite being heavy underdogs and being thoroughly outplayed statistically by the Vikings, the Packers somehow found themselves tied with the Vikings at the end of regulation. It was mostly the Vikings doing, as they committed five turnovers in the game, including 3 interceptions by Dante Culpepper. The Vikes were also flagged for 11 penalties, one of which would earn Vikings WR Chris Carter a $5000 fine for kicking Packers CB Mike McKenzie. With 8 seconds left in the game, the Vikings Gary Anderson lined up for a 33-yard field goal to win the game. But the Vikings holder couldn't handle the wet ball, bobbling it before recovering and trying to throw a pass. His throwing wasn't any better, as it was intercepted by Tyrone WIlliams to force the game into overtime. The Packers won the toss and marched down to the Vikings 43-yard line, where they had a 3rd and four. The play call was a quick slant, but as the teams lined up, with the Vikings Chris Dishman showing blitz, Freeman yelled to Favre and made a motion indicating he was going to run a slant and go. Despite the driving rain and strong winds, Favre went along with the plan and threw the ball deep to Freeman. But Dishman did not blitz and was there to deflect the floating pass that was being knocked around by the wind. Everyone thought the play was over as Freeman fell to the ground. Of course the ball miraculously hits his leg, rolls up his body into his hands. Amid widespread confusion, Freeman gets up off the ground and starts running to the end zone. he put a move on the only Viking player that seems to know what was happening and scores the touchdown to give the Packers the overtime win. The Vikings stood in stunned silence while the Packers celebrated wildly in the end zone. The touchdown inspired Al Michaels' famous "he did WHAT?" In 2005, ESPN named this play the greatest catch in the history of Monday Night football.


Watch it again... along with comments by Brett Favre and Mike Sherman.


2009, Brett the Grey returns to his former homeland


The storyline on this Sunday's game hasn't been written yet. So why don't YOU write it? I think it would be fun if the readers would leave a comment describing how you all think the story will play out. Go for it, readers...



You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and Bleacher Report.

You can also follow Jersey Al on twitter.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Greg C.'s picture

I did not know that the Vikings were slated to be an AFL team, and the Raiders took their place. So much great stuff in this article. As much as I hate the Vikings, and as much as I love the fact that they've never won a championship, they have had a colorful history and have never gone through a long period where they were a bad team. I don't know if there are any other teams that have not gone through an extended down period.

The Packer-Viking game that stands out most in my mind was the one in 1978 where they played to a 10-10 tie at Lambeau Field. I still get angry when I think about Tarkenton running around and the Packers not being able to sack him. The Packers finished 8-7-1 that year and missed the playoffs by half a game. The Eagles made the playoffs at 9-7 after Herman Edwards scooped up the infamous Joe Pisarcik/ Larry Csonka fumble and returned it for a TD.

I don't know what to think about this game on Sunday. I think the Vikings are a better team than the Packers are right now, but the Packers are coming into the game with some momentum, while the Vikings are coming off a tough game at Pittsburgh and have not yet had a bye. I think the Packers can keep Favre in check and find a way to win the ballgame.

Jersey Al's picture

I predict a Packers win. I feel as confidant in this as I did that they would lose the first game at the Metrodome.

Stan's picture

Great read Mr J.

It's one of those moments you live for as a Packer fan, hell an NFL fan! Yes the first game was exciting, but with the Vikings winning it makes it even more exciting for November the 1st. What will happen? We already know what the Vikings have got, they got out of the blocks early and fast. We on the other hand decided to start slow, but we're picking up pace nicely for this one.

Most knew (or had a sneaking suspicion) it would take a lot to beat the Vikings at the metrodome, we looked like a team stung by preseason expectations, sloppy I believe is the word. However this Packer team, as of now, is different, they look confident, play confident. Most pundits had us losing the first game (yes they were right), but it was the general feeling anyway. This time I doubt you'll see the same lack of faith.

Prediction: Packers win by a FG. Both teams have a couple of big plays, and it's won by the team who make the least mistakes. Oh and I believe this will be the game that Greg Jennings breaks out... he's been waiting patiently but he's due a big game. I'd also like to see B.J Raji develop the same way Clay Mathews has, but with his ankle trouble he may be a while off that.


One of the things that has annoyed me slightly about the build up to the game is the whole "fan reaction" story. There's reporters, players, coaches, you name it, they all have an opinion on what the fans should do.... "don't boo him, he's a legend", or "boo him, he's a Viking". When it comes down to it, let the fans decide. Let them express what they feel, not what some media type or ex-player wants them to feel. When it comes down to it the only thing fans should be duty bound to do is cheer their team and give the opposition a hard time.

Jersey Al's picture

If I were at Lambeau, I would boo, but it would be good-natured, having fun booing, not hateful booing.

Stan's picture

I like saying "when it comes down to it".... what "it" is I don't know.... ?

Jersey Al's picture

"It" is whatever you want "it" to be...

uberVU - social comments's picture

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Packers Lounge: Packers Lounge: Packers-Vikes Rivalry

RonLC's picture

That's a great history lesson Al.

The Packers must Block, hold the Block and find someone else to Block. The Packers must presure Favre and force him into stupid decisions every offensive play. The fans must BOO, Loud and Long. (Why is it ok for the Purple Butt Holes to use the acoustics of that piece of crap inner-tube Stadium to drown out any possible communication for the opposing offenses and have it called the 12th man?) Not only booing but every other obnoxious noise, gesture and otherwise revolting behavior should be directed at Bent and his purple pals from the time the plane lands at Austin Strable until they get the hell out of town.
Bent is no longer a Packer, he is the ENEMY!

Jersey Al's picture

Thanks Ron. What's your prediction on how the game will go?

RonLC's picture

I am assuming we'll see a different kind of GB team on Sunday. Very aggressive and intent on scoring early and often, Hence, Packers 35 - Queenies 14.

Jersey Al's picture

Wow, that's a BIG margin. I don't think I can go that far, but I'm looking at a 28-20 score, maybe. I don't think it's decided by a field goal.

Jersey Al's picture

Where is everybody today? Is everyone already camped in front of the TV waiting for Sunday?

Franklin Hillside's picture

Packing my car for the drive...I'm going to be flipping off a lot of Vikes fans while speeding down Highway 29 tomorrow!

Jersey Al's picture

OK, but no two-handed flips while driving...

Franklin Hillside's picture

That's why I have two knees.

Jersey Al's picture

Careful, we don’t want you in a ditch somewhere in Minnesota…

FITZCORE1252's picture

F'ING RIGHT THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE 2 KNEES! Let them queen fans know!!!


Stan's picture say Ryan Grant could be the difference maker for the Packers... I say Quinn Johnson could be the difference maker. He's making those little holes a whole lot bigger.

Jersey Al's picture

Problem is, McCarthy still runs a lone of one-man backfield formations. Personally, I'd like to see the two-man on a consistent basis.

FITZCORE1252's picture

HAHA, little holes a lot bigger! NICE!


Mr. Bacon's picture

I would add on a side note, the Choke Job of the 2003 Vikings.

Going 6-0, and losing on the final game, on the final play to theCardinals on a 30+ Yard pass to Nathan Poole from McCown. Allowing the Packers to sneak in to the playoffs.

Jersey Al's picture

And here it is for you. Including one of the most anguished calls from a home team announcer ever...

PackersRS's picture

It's here! I don't get tired of saying how much I, a 32 year old from Brazil, enjoy the time and effort you put on these posts, as well as the posts themselves. I really enjoy hearing and reading the history of the game, and the history of the Green Bay Packers. The Lombardi era is very well covered, but the 70s and early 80s, for a good reason, are not. Thanks a lot, Al!
The Vikings came to the game as a 6-1 team, while the Packers were a insurgent 4-2 with playoffs hopes, despite a lot of questions surrounding the team. Their defense, despite sustaining the 3rd spot, had only played scrubs, and was embarassed when they played at the Metrodome. The offense, despite a potent passing game, had a questionable running game, and a much worse Offensive Line. The game started the same way it did at Minnesota; a close one, with one team responding immediately to another. However, things seemed better, as the line was holding it together, and the D was playing well. In the second quarter, Green Bay took the lead by 10, after a Ryan Grant 3 yard touchdwon, and went to the half with their hopes up. In the second half, the Vikings offense began to get tired, as they could no longer sustain drives, except for one or two long gains. It was a 4 point game, until from a playacion bootleg, Rodgers found Jennings, who had only 3 catches for 20 yards prior to this one, and Jennings, wide open, as Donald Driver was double covered, entered in the endzone to put the lead by 11. There was still time left as The Old Gray took the field to try to comeback. He managed to lead his team downfield to the 10 yard line. 3rd and 8. 1:30 seconds left. Playaction. Favre turns to see the field, and Aaron Kampman, after recognizing the play, strips the ball out of his hands, giving the Packers possession, with the Vikings having only 1 timeout left to call. Final, Green Bay 24, Minnesota 13. How's that, Al? And sorry for tooking so long to comment, but had to read it and think it through properly.

Jersey Al's picture

Very nice job! That was the type of writing I was hoping for.

I had a good laugh, however, at "playacion". Didn't know you were from Brazil. I'll bet you're excited about the Olympics coming there...

RonLC's picture

RS, spent sometime in Rio and Sao Paulo when I was still working. Had many very good times there. Are you a transplant or a native?

PackersRS's picture

Native. Been to US three or four times, and my father was an exchange student in Racine during the early 60s, so...

I live in Porto Alegre, which is way South of Brazil.

And I'm not happy about the Olympics... It's just another way for the politicians to steal my money. The estimated cost for the Panamerican games was 300mi. It costed 1 bi. You do the math.

I'm very excited by the World Cup comming here, though...

FITZCORE1252's picture

MAD PROPS AL! I seriously don't know where you guys find the time, but, THANK YOU!

The story of this game is going to be Clay Mathews hit on Brent Favre. Brent will leave the game early in the 2nd (with assistance), only to find out after the game that his right leg would have to be amputated, subsequently ending his career.

The PACK go on to get an easy W, but the story of THIS game will be the Irony. The man who never missed a game, until he went too far, was served a CHARMA sandwich, with a side order of... PAIN!


Jersey Al's picture

I don't know where I find it either...

It would certainly be appropriate if the Packers were responsible for ending his consecutive game streak...

That's a good scenario.

Willy's picture

Um, what about 2004?? The first and only playoff meeting between the teams should qualify even though the results sucked.

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