The most anticipated game of the season for Minnesota and Wisconsin residents unfolded this past Sunday afternoon, resulting in a crushing loss for the Vikings with a final score of 30-13. The annual Vikings-Packers game is, to some, more anticipated than the Super Bowl.
A long and bitter history plagues the two teams. The rivalry dates back to 1961 when the Vikings entered the league as an expansion team. The Vikings first met the on-field Packers October 22, 1961. Resulting in a humiliating defeat of the new NFL team dressed in purple, with a final score of 33-7.
The Packers, under the direction of Vince Lombardi, swept the Vikings away for their first five seasons of the NFL, winning nine of the ten games played against their Nordic neighbors.
But justice was swift. Each year the Vikings made it to the Super Bowl (‘69, ‘73, ‘74, ‘76) under the tutelage of Vikings great, Bud Grant, the Vikings beat the Packers in seven of eight games.
Ever since, every touchdown, field goal, and interception has been salt-in-the-wound for the opposing team.
The Packers currently lead the Vikings, winning 58 of their 109 game history.
The rivalry was epitomized in ’08 when Packers darling Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre, after a very public dispute with Green Bay’s management, came out of retirement after a brief stint with the New York Jets and committed what was seen as treason in the eyes of Green Bay fans, and signed on with the Minnesota Vikings.
The wound was cut deep into Wisconsin, and although Minnesota fans may have held previous hostilities towards the former Packer, he was welcomed with open arms.
This may have been spite or it may have been hope of an end in the lull the Vikings had been in, in previous seasons. Regardless, Favre took the Vikings through one of their best seasons in years. Finishing the season 12-4, taking the Vikings all the way to the NFC play-off game against the New Orleans Saints.
This was the year the Vikings were finally going to win their long awaited Super Bowl, as far as many Vikings fans were concerned, and Brett Favre would leave his NFL legacy with one more Super Bowl ring.
Although hotly contested, the Saints ended up winning with a field goal in overtime, resulting in a 31-28 lead. This game is the reason for the ruling that now both teams must have possession of the ball before you can win a game in overtime with a field goal.
The game will forever live in the deeply repressed memory of Vikings fans and in the cold hearts of their Wisconsin rivals.
Into the 2015 season, the Vikings are back in full swing with rookie Teddy Bridgewater, leading the division 7-2. The Packers, who were leading the division until losing three games back-to-back, were beginning to look increasingly shaky.
Inside of the deeply rooted cynicism of the Vikings fan base, a successful season can be broken down, not by statistics, wins, or entrance to the play-offs but by simply beating the Packers.
Despite losing to the Packers on Sunday, Vikings fans can still feel silently superior as they pass a truck on the freeway with a Green Bay bumper sticker, knowing they put forward their best effort in their most recent duel. They will have another chance in the last game of the season before playoffs though, to show solid, tangible evidence that they are indeed loftier to their cheese-eating, Old Milwaukee-drinking neighbors.
All until next season.