The 100th game between the Vikings and Packers


Feb 13, 2010
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From the frozen fields of the 1960s to the plastic grass beneath a Teflon top in 2010, the Vikings and Packers have created 50 seasons of memorable matchups and rival fans who bicker from across the Upper Midwest and into taverns up and down the common border.

"I think it all started with the Packer fans," said former Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall, who played the Packers 38 times from 1961 to '79. "They really didn't like us much when we first started. And most people in Minnesota had identified with the Packers for years. So it got pretty heated."

Between the two teams, they've given us some of the most unforgettable names in NFL history: Lombardi and Grant, Tarkenton and Starr, and the oddity of Brett Favre wearing green for 16 seasons and purple for the past two.

When the series began on Oct. 22, 1961, the Vikings were an expansion team and the 23-year-old Marshall was in the early stage of an iron-man streak of 282 consecutive games. When the series resumes with the 100th meeting Sunday at the Metrodome, the 41-year-old Favre will make his 295th consecutive start in what will be, according to all indications, his 36th and final Vikings-Packers game.

The Vikings are 3-6 and coming off a loss at Chicago. The Packers are 6-3, coming off a bye week and have won three consecutive games, including a 28-24 victory over the Vikings at Lambeau Field on Oct. 24.

But the rivalry rarely presents one team with a layup. The Packers lead the series 50-48-1, but are 23-25 at Minnesota, including 12-15 at the Metrodome. The average score has been Packers 20.9, Vikings 19.4. And Favre is 12-6 as the home quarterback, including 1-0 with the Vikings.

"If [Favre] is going to play his best against anybody, it's going to be us," Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji said this week. "I'm sure he's had this one circled on the calendar."

As quarterback in the final game of his Hall of Fame career, Norm Van Brocklin beat Vince Lombardi's Packers 17-13 in the 1960 NFL Championship Game. As head coach of the expansion Vikings, Van Brocklin was fiery, temperamental and unsuccessful.

"We thought he was crazy," Marshall said. "He was constantly walking up and down the sideline cussing out everybody he could."

Including the officials.

"One time, he got so angry that he was he was looking for something to throw at the officials," Marshall said. "He couldn't find anything, so he reached in his pocket, grabbed a handful of change and threw it at the officials.

"Of course, that got us a 15-yard penalty. Then he went out and started cussing at the guy. And that got us another 15-yard penalty. We had to kind of settle him down and say, 'Coach, we have a game to play and you're backing us down the field.'"

Lombardi won the first six meetings by a combined score of 208-80 and went 10-2 against Van Brocklin. The Vikings' first win in the series didn't come until a 24-23 victory at Lambeau Field on Oct. 4, 1964. By then, Vikings players were beyond fed up with Packers fans.

"They have the tradition of mooning us from the time we get off the plane," Marshall said. "Going into the city, virtually every window you would pass, every car you passed, somebody's showing you their rear end. And that was during the years when they sold glass bottles in stadiums. The fans would throw the bottles at us, so you'd be going down the concrete tunnel and bottles would be bouncing off and breaking all over the place."

The Savior from Superior

Bud Grant won four Grey Cup championships with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League when he replaced Van Brocklin on March 10, 1967. His connection to Minnesota already had been established as a three-sport star at the University of Minnesota and a two-year stint with the Minneapolis Lakers before going on to an NFL playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"People forget I'm actually from Wisconsin," said Grant, who was born in Superior. "I grew up with the great, old Packers. They were always my favorite team. It was always special for me to play the Packers, especially at Lambeau Field. Better than Atlanta or somebody."

Grant lost his first four games in 1967 by a combined score of 117-55 when he traveled to Milwaukee for the first of only two meetings with Lombardi. Lombardi was in his final season as Packers coach. He won Super Bowl I the year before and won Super Bowl II later that season.

"That first game against Lombardi was pretty special to me," Grant said. "They were actually the better team than we were, but we kept it close and got some breaks."

The Vikings won 10-7. Lombardi won the rematch later that season, but Grant would go on to dominate the Packers and finish with a record of 22-12-1 from 1967 to 1983 and 1985.

"Oh, what a real treat it was to get Bud in there after what we went through," Marshall said. "He was so logical. You understood what his program was and why it made sense. I can't remember all the details of that first year, but all I know is we played a hell of a lot better once Bud came in and got us organized."

One game in particular showcased the essence of Grant's Purple People Eaters of the 1970s. On Nov. 14, 1971, the Packers held the Vikings to 87 total yards and five first downs ... and lost 3-0.

"That's what we were made of," Hall of Fame safety Paul Krause said. "We were supposed to win games that way."

Burns flipped sides first

Before Favre was even born, Jerry Burns flipped sides in the rivalry. After serving as an assistant under Lombardi during the Packers' two Super Bowl seasons, Burns spent the next 18 seasons as the Vikings' offensive coordinator.

In 1986, after Grant retired for the second and final time, Burns was named head coach. Four games into that season, he had the chance to put an historical stamp on the rivalry. But he took the high road against an 0-3 Packers team.

Quarterback Tommy Kramer, who had dedicated the game to his ailing mother Marie, had just thrown his sixth touchdown pass early in the third quarter. The Vikings led 42-7 at the Metrodome and Kramer wanted to go for the NFL record of seven touchdown passes in a game, held by five players, including former Viking Joe Kapp, the last to do it in 1969.

Burns pulled Kramer, inserted Wade Wilson, ran the ball and managed to keep the final score at 42-7.

"Now that you mention it, I do remember him not being too happy about it," Burns said. "But I told him, 'Turnabout is fair play.' Maybe the following year, if you're in the same position, they can smear your face or cut your throat, too.

"You don't want to set a record that way."

The rivalry in the 1980s saw the Packers go 14-5, Herschel Walker lose a shoe during his fabulous Vikings debut in 1989, one strike cancel a game in 1982 and another strike create the infamous "replacement" games of 1987. As one of the more ill-prepared teams for the players' strike of 1987, the Vikings went 0-3 with their replacement players, including a 23-16 loss to the Packers in front of 13,911 fans at the Metrodome.

"It was sick," Burns said. "The guys we had on our strike team, they couldn't make Eden Prairie's high school team."

Welcome to the rivalry, Brett

The 1990s welcomed Dennis Green, Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre in 1992. Six years later, Randy Moss made his entrance with five catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns on a memorable Monday night in Lambeau Field.

Favre's rivalry debut, on the other hand, was one to forget.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," former Vikings cornerback Vencie Glenn, who intercepted Favre three times in a 27-7 victory on Dec. 27, 1992. "He wasn't the starter when we played them in the season opener, but watching tape, you knew early on he was a gunslinger out there making plays. But you also knew he was going to throw some balls to you, too. I remember Denny [Green] saying, 'You already got two. You might as well go for the hat trick.' And I went out and got the hat trick."

Favre didn't throw a touchdown pass and was outplayed by Vikings journeyman quarterback Sean Salisbury, who passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

"It was an honor just being a part of that rivalry," Salisbury said. "You could put a Hall of Fame together just off the guys who have played and coached in it."

Tice's shining moment

Mike Tice is the only person on the Vikings' side of the rivalry to be a player and a head coach in the rivalry. He went 5-4 as a head coach from 2002 to 2005, including 3-2 at Lambeau Field. He also pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the only playoff meeting between the two teams.

It came in a wild-card game on Jan. 9, 2005, at Lambeau Field. The Packers were 10-6 and had beaten the Vikings twice that season on last-second field goals by Ryan Longwell.

Green Bay was riding a 9-2 run, while the Vikings had finished 1-4 to enter the playoffs at 8-8. The Packers were 14-1 in home playoff games, while the Vikings were 2-20 in outdoor road games since 2000. And, oh yeah, an 8-8 team never had won a playoff game.

But the Vikings routed the Packers 31-17. Daunte Culpepper threw two touchdown passes, while Favre threw four interceptions.

"Even our wives didn't think we were going to go into Lambeau Field and win that game," said Tice, who's now the offensive line coach for the Bears. "So it was one of those games where as a head coach you were really able to rally the troops and give them the 'us-against-the-world' speech.

"And it was one of those rare times when that speech actually worked. Things just clicked for us. And the Packers probably took us too lightly."

Favre's farewell

After 1,195 pass attempts, 745 completions, 8,322 yards, 63 touchdowns and 40 interceptions, perhaps it's fitting that Favre's final meaningful game could come against his former team in this rivalry.

Now into his third decade in the rivalry, he's 19-16, including 2-1 with the Vikings. But after two magical performances in 2009, Favre's three interceptions were the difference in last month's loss at Lambeau Field.

"Brett's durability is the greatest thing we've ever seen in sports," Salisbury said. "I mean, I'm sitting here talking about a guy I started against midway through my career in 1992. I've now been in the broadcast business for 15 years, and this guy is still a starting quarterback in this rivalry."

Favre has been loved and hated by both sides. For instance, in 2002, seven years before he helped the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game, Favre was caught on film giving a one-fingered salute to Vikings defensive tackle Chris Hovan during a game-ending brawl between the teams.

Sunday, Favre will be on the other side with no desire to reflect on his first 35 appearances.

"We obviously need a win," Favre said. "So there's no time to think about those types of things."

But there are 60 minutes left to forge one more famous or infamous moment before the first 50 seasons of the Vikings-Packers rivalry comes to a close.


Oct 19, 2007
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Farve looked like garbage today. He should retire after this shoddy performance if he had any self respect.


Feline Cheesehead
Sep 13, 2010
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Philly/ South Jersey area
Favre will retire and chilly will be fired. They have even more problems on the team than I could ever of imagined. I enjoyed watching the Packers stomp them but I kind of wish they would of at least made a game out of it.

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