Well, it's Wednesday again, and you know what that means. It is time for another Packers series history post. Today's post will detail Green Bay's history against the Minnesota Vikings, although I am limiting the scope of this post to Packers home games in Green Bay or Milwaukee. Here is how the other two parts will break down, and I will make these active links once I post them in the last week of the season.
Part 2: Games in Minnesota.
Part 3: General series overview.
At present, the Packers lead the series in Green Bay and Milwaukee by the margin of 28-22-1, but this does not include the only playoff game between the two teams in Green Bay, which was a Vikings victory.
Given that the Vikings entered the NFL in 1961 and did not truly become perennial contenders until the 1968 season, one might expect that the early years of this series were generally dominated by the Packers. To a small degree, this was the case. It did not last long. Although the Packers won the first four home games against the Vikings, as well as five of their first six home games over Minnesota, the 1965 win was extremely close when compared with the Packers blowout of the Vikings in Minnesota at the same time.
Even as the Lombardi years kept going, the Vikings established a winning streak over the Packers in Wisconsin beginning in 1966 (they were one of only two teams to beat the Packers that year). Minnesota won 11 of the next 12 in Green Bay or Milwaukee, turning the series into a Vikings romp both in Wisconsin as well as overall.
Then things got interesting. The 1978 game went into overtime, but no one could score. The game ended in a 10-10 tie, but Minnesota won the division due to their victory over the Packers in the Twin Cities that year.
Following this, the Packers, surprisingly enough, began picking up wins over the Vikings in Wisconsin. The Packers won nine of the next twelve games in Green Bay or Milwaukee, even while they fell into the NFL's basement. Most of these games were close, setting the stage for years of Packers-Vikings grudge matches in years to come.
The Vikings won three straight games in Wisconsin in the early 1990s. This includes Mike Holmgren's first game as Packers coach, a 23-20 home loss to the Vikings in Lambeau Field in overtime. Three games later, Brett Favre began his long streak of NFL starts, but the Vikings won in Milwaukee in 1993 in Favre's first home start against Minnesota.
At this point, the Packers went on a tear over the Vikings in Green Bay. They won eight of the next nine games in Green Bay over Minnesota, including three straight years when they scored 38 points on the Vikings (38-21 in 1995, 38-10 in 1996, and 38-32 in 1997). Offsetting this, however, was the 1998 game when the Vikings went into Lambeau Field and won 37-24, ending a 25-game Packers win streak at Lambeau Field. In 1999, the Packers stunned the Vikings with 11 seconds left and pulled out a 23-20 victory.
However, the 2000 game featured what may have been the most fantastic finish in this stretch. The Vikings consistently drove the ball but turned it over multiple times. Nearing the end of regulation, the teams were tied 20-20, but Minnesota was in field goal range. The snap, however, was bobbled, and the Minnesota holder attempted to throw a pass, which was intercepted, sending the game into overtime. In overtime, Favre launched a deep pass to Antonio Freeman, who fell down as the ball arrived. Chris Dishman appeared to knock the ball down, but it bounced on Freeman's shoulder and then landed in his hand as he lay on the ground. Realizing that the ball was still live, Freeman then grabbed the ball, got up, and raced into the end zone for the winning touchdown, prompting Al Michaels, who was calling the game, to blurt out "He did WHAT?" on the air.
The 2002 game was much closer than expected, and it took a frantic Green Bay comeback to pull out a 26-22 Packers win at Lambeau Field. The Packers' win streak over the Vikings ended with a thud in 2003 when the Vikings won the first game in the newly dedicated and expanded Lambeau Field. The Packers did win the 2004 game on a last-second field goal, but the Vikings did the same in Green Bay the following year. In 2006, the Packers again had to rely on a late field goal to beat Minnesota at Lambeau Field late in the season despite only 50 yards passing from Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
In 2007, the Packers registered their first-ever shutout of the Vikings by beating them 34-0 at Lambeau Field. The following season, in Aaron Rodgers' first start as Packers quarterback, he beat the Vikings 24-19 in Green Bay. The Packers' defense, which would later become much-maligned that year, intercepted Jackson as time was running out, sealing the Packers win.
The 2009 and 2010 games had more ferocity to them than any other games between the Packers and Vikings. Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre had gone to Minnesota for the 2009 season, and in that season, he threw four touchdown passes in the game at Green Bay. The Packers fought back valiantly, but a 24-3 deficit early in the third quarter proved too much to overcome and the Vikings won 38-26 in Favre's first return to Green Bay. A year later, the teams traded scores. This time, however, Favre threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings still had a chance at the victory but Favre's fourth down pass sailed through the end zone and the Packers hung on to win 28-24, for Rodgers' first victory against Favre.
In 2011, the Packers' defense was lights-out, as was the Green Bay offense, and Green Bay steamrolled the Vikings 45-7 at Lambeau Field on a Monday Night game. This was the first of an eleven-day, three-game stretch and it set the tone for the other two games (Packers wins, including the third game which was in Detroit on Thanksgiving).
Unfortunately, for all the Packers' success at home against the Vikings, the only time the teams met in the playoffs, the Vikings went into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers 31-17. Favre did not help matters by throwing four interceptions. Randy Moss also got into trouble during a somewhat controversial touchdown celebration during this game.
What are your memories of the Packers hosting the Vikings?