What makes a rivalry?
Is it proximity or history, tradition or the personalities of the coaches or the players? Maybe it’s the fans in the stands?
I believe all of the above apply, but when considering the ferocity of a rivalry at the moment, its about the competition and what’s usually at stake.
To define rivalry in the NFL, let’s start with matchups of tradition: Packers-Bears, Chiefs-Raiders and Cowboys-Redskins.
Then there are the current rivalries: the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots and Jets matchup has some juice, as does the Arizona-Seattle game.
But in these parts, Packers-Vikings is about as good as it gets!
Consider this: Before the Vikings franchise was established in 1961, the Minneapolis-St Paul market was part of the Packers territory.
So whether they will admit it or not, there might be some green and gold in the lineage of many a Vikings fan — although I must say I’ve never seen it come to the surface.
In the sixties, Vince Lombardi’s Packers dominated the new Minnesota franchise. In the seventies and eighties, Bud Grant’s Vikings held the upper hand. In the nineties, the tide began to turn and in the 2000's the Packers have prevailed more often than not.
Consider this: The Vikings and Packers have combined to win seven of the last eight NFC North division titles.
Last November the Packers went to Minneapolis and knocked off the first place Vikings 30-13. The next month, Minnesota returned the favor in Green Bay in a game that decided the division title, 20-13 over the Packers.
Since 1961, the Vikings lead the division with 28 playoff appearances to the Packers' 27. In terms of Western Conference, NFC Central or NFC North division titles, Minnesota has won 19 and Green Bay 17.
The Vikings hold a winning record against everyone in the North with the exception of the Packers. Through 111 meetings including two postseason contests, the Packers have a 59-50-2 edge in the all time series with Minnesota.
Of the past 28 regular season meetings between these two, 19 of those games have been decided by seven points or less! This is the stuff of rivalry!
In the last decade, the Packers under Mike McCarthy have been dominant, winning 15 times, losing five and tying once.
In the NFL today, quarterback is often a defining faction and the big difference between the Packers and Vikings has been the quarterback position.
While the Vikings have struggled to find a consistent high quality signal caller over the past decade, the Packers have had two Hall of Fame passers directing their attack.
What makes it all the more colorful: One of those quarterbacks, Brett Favre, piloted the Vikings to back-to-back victories over his former team while wearing purple in 2009.
In 17 games against the Vikings, Rodgers has completed 354 of 514 passes 68.9%, for 4,267 yards 35 TDs and five interceptions. His passer rating is 112.7 against one of the Packers' biggest rivals. That’s dominant, and is the number one reason why the Packers have been able to turn a series deficit into a series advantage.
When the Packers rechristened the renovated Lambeau Field in 2003 ,the Vikings were the opponent and they prevailed 30-25 over coach Mike Sherman’s Packers. Now 13 years later, it is the Packers' turn to spoil the christening of a new venue for the Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium.
Now that’s what I’m thinking about when I say rivalry!