Today is the first day of a new era for the Vikings for better or worse. As you probably know, the Vikings have an important vote to face in the Minnesota Senate. If the stadium effort passes then the future looks bright in Minnesota for the Vikings. They will have a shiny new stadium and what looks like a decent long term plan to rebuild the team. If the stadium doesn't pass....well let's just say that's a fate I wouldn't wish upon any fan, even a rival.
In the midst of this change, some news came out demonstrating the flux the Vikings organization is in right now. Ryan Longwell was cut by the Vikings. Now this isn't too surprising, after all the Vikings did draft a kicker and that usually means that the kicker currently on the roster is going to be let go. It's not even the first time that Longwell has seen the team he has been associated with draft a new kicker. Longwell first rose to prominence beating out Brett Conway, a guy drafted by the Packers to replace Chris Jacke. Longwell was also replaced by the Packers when they drafted Mason Crosby.
So as unsurprising as this new is, it is still significant because it marks the end of an era in the rivalry between the Packers and the Vikings. For a long time in the 2000's it seemed like the Vikings had this fascination with former Packer players. Every offseason when the Packers would cut a bunch of guys there always seemed to be one that ended up on the Vikings. Sometimes it was guys near the end of their rope like Robert Furgeson, but sometimes it was a notable guy. The big three that come to my mind on this are Longwell, Darren Sharper, and Brett Favre.
Longwell was the last of these guys on the roster, and his departure seems to signal the end of recycled Packers populating the Vikings' final 53. This past year the Vikings didn't really poach our roster and now seem bent on a draft and develop strategy under Rick Spielman.
I'm not going to lie, it's a little sad to see that particular part of the rivalry go. It was fun to tease Viking fans about sorting through our trash, and it was a good way to ramp up that particular rivalry. Now it looks like the Packer/Viking clashes are going to be a bit more low key with the Vikings appearing a few years away from truly contending for the division and the rise of the Bears and the Lions.
The only question that remains from this particular chapter of Packer history is which one of these former Packers should be brought back and honored in Green Bay? This is an interesting question to me, with each one having some serious question as to whether he should be honored at all. The Favre thing has been covered countless times and you know the story.
Sharper had a pretty good run in Green Bay, but never really great. Fans either seemed to love him or hate him. His play itself tended to be inconsistent.
As for Longwell, well he left Green Bay with some stinging words about the city. I get it that Green Bay is small, but why trash the city that loved you and would probably honor you when your career is done? Especially as you are leaving to go play for a rival. Of all three of these guys Longwell probably would of been the easiest to forgive, or at least forget about, but then he opens his mouth for something like that.
So as we close the book on this part of this storied rivalry I turn to you APC community and ask a simple question....who are you most likely to forgive and welcome back to the Packer family? Favre, Shaper, or Longwell...and why?