Owing to the Christmas holidays, I am writing this on Wednesday instead of the usual Tuesday. This gave me a chance to get home and prepare for this week's game. And also, it gave me a chance to prepare for the nor'easter storm that is bearing down on my area and is expected to give us 10-15 inches of snow.
Anyway, here is Green Bay's history against the Minnesota Vikings, limited to games played in Minnesota. Given all of Brett Favre's struggles in the Metrodome, you might think the Vikings would have a series edge in Minnesota. This is actually not the case. In fact, the series as it currently stands in Minnesota is an exact tie, with the current mark being a 25-25 deadlock.
When the Vikings entered the NFL in 1961, they cut into the Packers' established fan base in the Twin Cities. Lombardi made sure of this, and he in fact never lost a road game to the Vikings while coach of the Packers. The Packers won the first seven games in Minnesota, all played at Metropolitan Stadium. Most of these were blowouts, and the 1964 game ended with a final score of Packers 42, Vikings 13 despite the fact that the Vikings actually went into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers by one point.
By 1968, Lombardi was gone. Bud Grant was now the coach of the Vikings, and it was Grant who would be the ultimate coach in the NFC Central during the 1970s. In fact, the Viking dominance in Minnesota was such that the Packers' yearly trip there almost always ended in a loss. The Vikings won 10 of 12 in Metropolitan Stadium from 1968-1979. The 1978 victory was the critical game as both teams ended with identical 8-7-1 records. Minnesota, however, got into the playoffs due to their 1-0-1 head-to-head mark against the Packers.
In 1980, however, a curious trend emerged. The Packers actually became dominant in Minnesota, and this continued despite the Vikings moving to the Metrodome. Green Bay won seven of eight games over the Vikings in the Twin Cities during this time span, despite the fact that the Packers were not elite by any stretch of the imagination.
In 1989, the Vikings restored dominance over the Packers in the Twin Cities, and this continued essentially without interruption until the 2002 season. Minnesota won 11 of 14 home games against the Packers. Green Bay would often come close only to lose the game in heartbreaking fashion. In 1993, Terrell Buckley ignored a wide receiver, only to have Warren Moon complete a long pass to the receiver to help set up the Vikings' game-winning field goal (Buckley would say he thought Moon couldn't throw that far). In 1995, T.J. Rubley audibled to a rollout pass, which was intercepted, leading to another game-winning field goal for the Vikings.
The Packers' losing fortunes in Minnesota continued into the 2000s, despite Green Bay winning a major upset in the 2000 season at the Metrodome. In 2002, the Vikings defeated the Packers 31-21, cooling off the red-hot Packers who came into the game with a mark of 8 wins and 1 loss. Green Bay never recovered from this loss and it haunted them for the remainder of the season.
In 2003, however, the Packers finally appeared to right the ship in Minnesota. Buoyed by 261 rushing yards, Green Bay won a must-win game in the Metrodome 30-27 in November 2003. The Packers clinched the NFC North a year later by defeating the Vikings 34-31 in Minnesota. Although Paul Edinger's 56-yard field goal gave Minnesota a win in 2005, the Packers defeated the Vikings 23-17 in the 2006 game in the Twin Cities. The 2007 game would prove to be Favre's last game in the Metrodome as a Packer. The Packers won 23-16, and Favre broke Dan Marino's touchdown pass record in the first quarter. A recorded video message from Marino congratulating Favre played on the big screen at the Metrodome after this play.
2008 saw Aaron Rodgers make his first start in the Metrodome. The Packers led 27-21 when Adrian Peterson scored a go-ahead touchdown to give the Vikings a 28-27 lead. The Packers drove into field goal range but Mason Crosby's 52-yard field goal sailed wide right and Minnesota ended up winning.
The 2009 season finally saw Favre play the Packers for the first time. The Vikings scored throughout. Green Bay tied the game early but then fell behind big. The Packers attempted to catch up but Minnesota secured the onside kick to defeat the Packers 30-23. In 2010, however, the Packers reversed this outcome in a big way. Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, three to Greg Jennings, and the Packers won in a rout, 31-3. The fan backlash against unpopular Vikings head coach Brad Childress led to deafening chants of "Fire Childress!" as this game wore down, and Childress was indeed fired immediately after this game.
The Packers and Vikings tangled for yet another high-scoring affair in the 2011 season. Vikings rookie Christian Ponder spelled the ineffective Donovan McNabb, and the Vikings and Packers went back and forth early. The Packers appeared to take control after the third quarter with a 33-17 lead, but the Vikings were not done. Minnesota fought back to 33-27, but then Vikings coach Leslie Frazier decided to punt with several minutes remaining, and gave the Packers the ball. Minnesota had all three of their timeouts, the two-minute warning, and a stout defensive line, but they never got the ball back. The Packers' much-maligned running game found enough holes to wear down the clock and Green Bay left Minnesota with a 33-27 victory.
What are your memories of the Packers playing the Vikings in Minnesota?