Minnesota Vikings fans all over the country had a tough viewing experience last week against Green Bay. Like watching a train wreck, it was a sight that was hard to watch, but hard to keep your eyes away from.
Besides being a purple-and-gold clad fan at Lambeau, nothing could have been worse than watching the demolition of the Vikings with a born Packers fan, one on one.
That is exactly where I found myself.
As the game toiled on it was clear my football-watching friend, born and raised in Green Bay, was going to get revenge on me after Week One. He made sure to let me know that many times as the score widened.
Earlier in the year, his mother (an even more obsessive Packer fan) came to visit Wyoming from Green Bay. Since I never kept company with die-hard Packer fans before moving out West, I asked a curious question that neither my friend nor his mother answered the same way.
“Who do you dislike more, the Vikings or the Bears?”
Surprisingly, the mother (much older) answered with the Vikings, and my friend (much younger) responded with the Bears. Going against the age of each respective rivalry. Through their responses, I was able to glean the sentiment behind their answer.
Bears-Packers dates back to the Old Testament of the NFL. Both teams have many championships, and they have played a staggering 206 games. This results in a deep-seated dislike of the other that will never fade.
Like Aaron Rodgers, the Packers also own the Bears in the all-time series with a 10-game cushion.
Vikings-Packers on the other hand is a much younger, less mature rivalry, and by far the most intense in the modern NFC North. While Bears-Packers is all about history and championships, Vikings-Packers is about recent division titles and incidents like the infamous Randy Moss gesture (I prefer this style of rivalry in terms of entertainment value).
If you put weight in this year’s 12-4 record, it is hard to argue that the Vikings have had a worse season than Green Bay.
In their two games (so far?) this year, it is also hard not to give Green Bay the decision in terms of this season’s head-to-head matchups. To a neutral fan, last week’s rout would be unquestionably more impressive a win than the Vikings’ week one victory.
After the 125th meeting between the Vikings and the Packers, the record stands at 65-57-3 with the advantage going to the Packers. It will unfortunately be years before the Vikings faithful can statistically claim an advantage in the overall rivalry.
Both franchises seem similar in having concerns about their ability to build sustained momentum, an almost pre-requisite to a Super Bowl victory in today’s NFL.
The Vikings are saddled with a good but not necessarily great QB in Kirk Cousins and have a defense that is inspiring worry in even the most supportive of Vikes fans. Sure we have a good record, a propensity for highly valued receiving targets, and an impressive first-year coach in KOC, but this team has done everything but inspire confidence from the fanbase at the end of the day.
The Packers have been dealing with the odd personality that is Rodgers, and in the leadup to Rodgers’ contract extension signing, the will-he-or-won’t-he drama (and the size of the contract) not only irked the fanbase but also led to the trade of Davante Adams and the loss of other key pieces such as Za’Darius Smith.
Time will tell how much the Packers might struggle as Rodgers enters his twilight and the possibility of a nasty breakup á la Brett Farve isn’t out of the question. This is a franchise that doesn’t stay down for long, however.
Where do you think the Vikings-Packers rivalry stands right now? What do you think is in store for the rivalry in the coming seasons?