The Packers: A Different Path Than the Vikings over the Last 20 Years
As the 7-4 Green Bay Packers and the 6-5 Minnesota Vikings prepare to meet for the 102nd time in their history at Lambeau Field on Sunday, I wanted to discuss the recent history of these two teams. Going back 20 years.
In 1992, both the Packers and the Vikings made significant head coaching changes. The Packers brought in Mike Holmgren, who was hired by Ron Wolf, while the Vikes brought in Denny Green.
Both moves led to success for both franchises, albeit different types of success.
In the 20 years since then, the two teams have taken different paths, though there have been some similarities as well.
There were also some very surreal moments, especially recently.
Let's look at the various dynamics that have shaped the history of these two teams since 1992.
Since 1992, the Packers have had just four head coaches. Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Mike Sherman and Mike McCarthy.
The Vikings have also only had four. Dennis Green, Mike Tice, Brad Childress and Leslie Frazier.
Holmgren and McCarthy both won Super Bowls for the Packers, while Green and Childress both had their teams advance the the NFC title game only to suffer agonizing defeats in overtime games.
In 2006, the Packers and Vikings were both looking for head coaches, and the Packers were going to interview Childress. However, Childress interviewed with Minnesota first and accepted their offer on the spot, without ever traveling to Green Bay.
Ted Thompson ended up hiring McCarthy after going through an expansive hiring process, which included a number of interviews with prospective candidates. The candidates included McCarthy, Jim Bates, Sean Payton, Wade Phillips, Ron Rivera, Tim Lewis and Maurice Carthon.
McCarthy has a 62-29 record as head coach of the Packers, and also has a 5-3 mark in the postseason, which includes a Super Bowl win.
Childress was 39-35 as head coach of the Vikings, and was 1-2 in the postseason. Childress was ironically fired one day after the Packers whipped the Vikings 31-3 in Minneapolis in 2010.
The quarterback position is where the Packers and Vikings have had completely different approaches since 1992.
Favre (253 starts) and Rodgers (73 starts) got the bulks of those games, as Majkowski only started three games in 1992 before injuring his ankle, while Flynn started two games, one because of a concussion suffered by Rodgers and the other because Rodgers was being rested for the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Vikings have used a whopping 13 different starters at quarterback since 1992. It started with Rich Gannon, then continued with Sean Salisbury, Jim McMahon (who later served as Favre's back up in Green Bay in 1995 and 1996), Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper, Tavaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb and Christian Ponder.
The big elephant in the room was when Favre decided to play for the Vikings in 2009. This was after he and the Packers had a messy divorce in the summer of 2008, when Green Bay traded Favre to the New York Jets and made Rodgers their starting quarterback.
Favre and the Vikings swept Rodgers and the Packers in the 2009 season on their way to the NFC Championship Game, a contest which they lost in overtime. A late Favre interception cost the Vikings a chance to kick a field goal and win the game against the New Orleans Saints.
In 2010, it was Rodgers and the Packers who swept Favre and the Vikings on their way to a win in Super Bowl XLV.
The Series Record
The Packers have a 53-47-1 record against the Vikings since 1961, the year in which the two teams started playing.
But since 1992, the series has been very similar, as the Packers hold a 21-18 advantage over the Vikes.
The Vikings did, however, win the only postseason game between the two teams, when they defeated the Packers 31-17 at Lambeau Field in the 2004 postseason.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis used to be a house of horrors for the Packers in the 1990s. Under Mike Holmgren, the Packers only won there once (1997).
Recently though, the Packers have fared much better, as the Pack has won four of the last six games played there.
The Packers usually play the Vikings tough at Lambeau Field, as the Packers have been 14-6 (regular season) at home against the Vikings since 1992.
Division Titles and Overall Success in the Playoffs
Since 1992, the Packers have won eight NFC Central/North titles. The Vikings have won six NFC Central/North titles.
Overall in the postseason, the Packers are 16-12 since 1992. That includes three NFC championships and two Super Bowl victories (Super Bowl XXXI and Super Bowl XLV).
The Vikings, on the other hand, are 5-9 overall in the postseason since 1992, and are 0-2 in NFC Championship Game appearances. They have not played in a Super Bowl since the 1976 season.
Speaking of Super Bowls, the Packers are 4-1 overall in the Big Dance, while the Vikings are 0-4.
Overall, since 1961, when the two teams first started playing, the Packers have won seven NFL titles, including four Super Bowl wins.