Packers vs. Vikings: Top 15 Greatest Moments from Classic NFL Rivalry
These two teams have played more nail-biting contests than any other rivalry, and they can easily be awarded most grueling NFL rivalry of all-time if there was such an award.
The games, however, are usually defined by singular moments within each game, that leaves indelible marks on all fans involved, whether you wear Purple and Maze, or Green and Gold.
Today, in celebration of the 50th year these teams have been at it, I decided to do a small slideshow highlighting some of my favorites game moments of this rivalry, and because it is only 15 slides long, everyone else is encouraged to chime in and leave your nomination.
To be fair here, I am taking a football approach out of respect for this rivalry that I grew up with, so there will be mentions for BOTH teams and fans involved.
1994 Thunderdome OT Win
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The beginning of the 1994 season featured a Packers-Vikings deadlock contest that the Vikings would eventually lose 16-10, but in their next matchup, the two teams would once again find themselves in a classic gridlock until regulation expired with both teams tied.
Warren Moon never threw a TD in this game, but led the Vikings up and down the field, and when it counted most, he did it again in overtime, which allowed a little known kicker by the name of Fuad Revis to kick the game winning 27-yard field goal.
The Vikings would rise to a mark of 5-2, play three other overtime games (losing two and winning one) while finishing the year at 10-6.
Had it not been for that field goal and win, the Vikings may not have won the division as the Lions were hot on their trail all season long.
1998 Coming out Party for Randy Moss
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Vikings' fans were already excited about their newest rookie Randy Moss, and on October 5th, 1998, Moss made his Monday Night Football debut against the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Moss wound up torching the Packers with five catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns, setting the stage of things to come with Moss against the Pack.
1961. Where It All Began
One of the many elements that define this particular rivalry is the fact that nearly every game these two teams play, usually winds up in either a blowout (not so often) or a bitterly close game (more often).
In the first year of the Vikings' existence, however, a scheduling mishap had the Packers and Vikings facing each other for two straight weeks
The Packers entered the game as 17-point favorites, but by halftime the game was—as it would come to be the norm—a very close contest at 13-7.
The downside to this memory, is the Packers came out in the second half and pitched a the first ever blowout between these two teams, winning 33-7 when it was all said and done.
The 1975 Streak Almost Ended
I am mentioning this game and moment for one reason, and that is to highlight the rivalry even if the teams are seemingly uneven.
The Vikings were enjoying an undefeated season at 6-0 while the Packers were dealing with a season that only afforded them a single win by Week 7.
At the end of the third quarter,however, it was the Vikings' faithful that was beginning to worry as the Packers held the undefeated Vikings in check with a slim 17-14 lead.
But it was, as it always turned out to be that year, Fran Tarkenton's two late touchdown passes to Chuck Foreman, and John Gilliam that helped the Vikings preserve their undefeated record for another week.
2003 Underdog Game
The interesting aspect to this September 7th game in 2003 was the "nobody will pick Minnesota" factor.
The packers were coming off of a 12-4 season while Minnesota just managed to scrounge up six wins a season ago, and it was widely believed—even with Randy Moss—that the Vikings were simply outmatched.
around these parts, when we watch the Packers-Vikings matchups, we have an ongoing "joke" that says someone always gets royally hurt in these games, and that's because injuries are usually as common as penalties, due to the high motor that everyone plays with here.
The Vikings built a 27-3 lead on Randy Moss' nine catch 150 yard, single touchdown day, but they watched as the Packers stormed back to put the game within reach.
But as mentioned above, injuries would decimate the Packers in this one (Donald Driver on a scary neck injury, Robert Ferguson's tweaked knee, and backup Karsten Bailey's bum hamstring) leaving them with David Martin at TE, along with Antonio Chatman and Javon Walker at WR.
They weren't enough to get the lone touchdown needed to trump the Vikings.
1972 Packers Clinch
The conditions—near below zero and a frozen field—is only one aspect to this contest.
Prior to the seventies, the Packers absolutely dominated the Vikings. After 69 or so, it was the Vikings who enjoyed the reversal of fortunes, dominating the packers, especially in '72.
The Packers entered this frigid contest as the underdogs and neither team did much at all on offense, but it was the Packers riding the legs of John Brockington and MacArthur Lane that would garner the win for Green Bay, and help them clinch the division in the same vein.
2008 One Win, One Point
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After getting their you know what's handed to them a week prior thanks to the Bears, the Vikings entered into a November 9th contest with the Packers tied for third at 4-4, and a bit dejected.
The Packers had taken the first in the series at the beginning of the season 24-19, and in this contest it seemed as if the brooms were coming out after the Packers stormed to a 24-21 lead bu the fourth quarter.
Another close contest? Who would've guessed?
But the Vikings did the one thing they aren't doing that much of this year—take that Coach Frazier...now tighten up—and gave the ball to Adrian Peterson who set the victory in motion with a 29 yard touchdown run in the fourth.
The Game ended with the Vikings pulling off the one of the greatest nail-biters in the history of the rivalry.
Not to Be Outdone
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I hate to double-dip here, but that singular game I last mentioned was probably one of the greatest games in the history of the Packers-Vikings rivalry from a Minnesota standpoint, and another signature moment in that game came from Jared Allen.
Jared Allen had taken control in this game from the get go sacking Aaron Rodgers not once, but twice, one particular moment in the first half where Rodgers was also flagged for intentional grounding; the very penalty that would lead to Aleen's second sack in the end-zone for a safety.
Brett Favre Returns to Green Bay...As a Viking
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I think for both sides, in a way, this moment was one of the greatest. Both Packers and Vikings fans were split on not only the issue, but also the return and it was felt in the lament leading up to this game.
The cheers and geers were also felt when Favre stepped onto the field.
Favre would throw four touchdowns in the game and the Vikings would wind up defeating the Packers 38-26, in what was just a terrible Wisconsin divorce.
Run for Your Life, Fran: 1978
Fran Tarkenton had quite a few memorable moments, but none quite as memorable as a game in 1978.
Tarkenton was getting hammered all day by green Bay's up front pass rush, and towards the end of regulation after avoiding AT LEAST 10 sacks by running, Tarkenton threw a bomb that would tie the game up.
The best part for Vikings' fans is the fact that even the the game ended in a tie, the Vikings wound up winning the division because of this particular tie that left them 1-0-1 in head-to-head play.
MNF 2000: The Catch
In a grueling game on Monday Night Football, it was one man and one weird catch that went down as one of the greatest moments in this rivalry...if you were a Packers' fan of course.
While in overtime, Favre offered up a deep pass that was seemingly short, just as freeman fell to the ground.
The play was thought to be dead.
But in fact, the ball actually hit Freeman's legs as he was falling and sent it right back into his hands, and well, the catch says the rest.
Brett Favre's Record Breaking TD Pass
Again, from a football standpoint, to have this come against your most bitter rival is paramount to the historic writing.
For Vikings' fans, it wasn't the most enjoyable thing to watch.
Corey Bradford's TD Catch in 1999
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In yet another nail-biting contest, the Vikings held onto to 20-16 lead for the majority of this contest.
The game featured all sorts of fan-fairs such as Cris Carter kicking a Packers' defensive back,which was another true example of just how bitter this rivalry can get.
In the closing moments of the game,however, it was Corey Bradford's gut-wrenching touchdown catch that would help thew Packers overcome the Vikings 23-20.
Ironically enough, later that season, it would be the Vikings who would win in similar fashion 24-20.
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Obviously one of the greatest moments in this rivalry for two reasons:
1. It was the first time these two would face each other in a playoff setting
2. The Vikings would wind up winning 31-17
Nuff said here, right?
2005 Comeback Win: Paul Edinger
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After being shutout 17-0 at the half, the Vikings would storm back to tie this game up.
The Packers, however, stood their ground near mid-field and would not allow the Vikings to advance preserving the stalemate.
After a failed final drive, the Vikings sent kicker Paul Edinger onto the field, and it was Edinger who kicked a 56-yard game-winning field goal (23-20) to complete the season sweep of the Packers.
In the first contest of the season, the Vikings won 20-17 in similar fashion.