The rivalry began in 1961, when the Minnesota Vikings entered the league as an expansion team. The rivalry is known for its many close games and the parity of the all-time series. It is also considered to be one of the most intense rivalries in the National Football League, due to both teams being located in the same division since the Vikings inception, and the fact that the two states (Minnesota and Wisconsin) are geographically located side by side, thereby allowing them to compete in multiple sports in other leagues such as the Big Ten Conference. The series between the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota is the most-played rivalry in NCAA Division I football, having been played continuously since 1907.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer recently said Minnesota needs more wins if they want to call it a rivalry.
Vince Lombardi's Packers dominated the Vikings in Minnesota's first five seasons in the NFL, going 9-1 against the Vikings in that span. In Green Bay's two Super Bowl seasons under Lombardi (1966–67), though, the two teams split their semi-annual meetings. In Minnesota's four Super Bowl seasons (1969, 1973, 1974, 1976) they won seven of eight meetings with the Packers. Bud Grant went 22-14-1 against the Packers as Vikings coach.
The bitterness of the rivalry was illustrated in the 2008 preseason when Packers quarterback Brett Favre, in his public feud with Green Bay management over his attempted comeback from retirement, expressed desire to play for the Vikings, a move soundly opposed by the Packers, who filed tampering charges against the Vikings (which were proven to be unfounded) and later traded Favre to the New York Jets with a stipulation that the Packers receive multiple draft picks from the Jets should Favre be traded to an NFC North team, presumably the Vikings. Favre played one season with the Jets before announcing his retirement, then came back out of retirement in August 2009 to sign with the Vikings. Brett Favre would later retire for the last time after the 2010 season.
On December 10, 1972 the Packers traveled to Metropolitan Stadium with a chance to clinch the NFC Central division for the first time since 1967. The Vikings had a chance to move into a first place tie with the Packers and have a shot to win the division in the final game of the season. The Vikings got on the board first and took a 7-0 lead but it was all Packers after that as they put up 23 unanswered points and won the game 23-7. With the win the Packers clinched the division title and ended the Vikings four year streak as division champions.
On September 26, 1993, in a week three division showdown, the Vikings trailed the visiting Packers 13-12 with no timeouts and less than two minutes remaining on the clock. Needing a big play on 4th and 8 from their own 19, Minnesota quarterback, Jim McMahon found Cris Carter for a 19-yard gain to keep the Vikings' drive alive. A couple more completions, mixed with three incomplete passes, set up a third-and-10 from mid-field with 14 seconds left. McMahon rolled right to avoid the rush, when suddenly he spotted rookie wide receiver Eric Guliford who was wide open by 20 yards. McMahon then connected on a 45-yard bomb with 6 seconds left to play before Mike Prior could force Guliford out of bounds. That would set up Fuad Reveiz's fifth field goal of the game, lifting the Minnesota Vikings to a 15-13 victory and a 2-1 record to start the season. It was Guliford's only catch in his two seasons with the Vikings.
In a Monday Night Football game on November 6, 2000, the Packers and Vikings were tied at 20 in overtime when Brett Favre threw a long pass that Vikings cornerback Cris Dishman deflected towards Antonio Freeman, who was on the ground. The ball went straight from Dishman to Freeman's shoulder, who then rolled over to make the catch at the 15-yard line, and took it into the endzone for the touchdown and the 26-20 win. This prompted Al Michaels, who was broadcasting the game on ABC, to famously utter, "He did what?"
On December 24, 2004 the Packers traveled to the Metrodome for a Week 16 matchup with the Vikings that would determine the 2004 NFC North Division Champion. Both teams entered the game with an 8-6 record. The Vikings took a 31-24 lead midway through the 4th quarter but the Packers mounted a late comeback by tying the game with 3:34 left in regulation. The Packers then drove down the field and won the game on a 29 yard field goal from Ryan Longwell as time expired. Coincidently, both matchups in the 2004 regular season were won by the Packers 34-31, both coming on last second field goals by Ryan Longwell.
January 9, 2005 represented the first time that the two clubs have faced each other in the playoffs. The Vikings jumped to an early lead and carried by the arm of Daunte Culpepper ultimately won 31-17. Culpepper threw four touchdowns, two of them to Moss for 20 and 34 yards, while Nate Burleson caught a 19-yard score and Moe Williams turned a short gain into a 68-yard touchdown. Brett Favre threw four interceptions for Green Bay's second home playoff loss in three years after winning 13 straight postseason contests at Lambeau Field; he was also flagged for an illegal forward pass when, late in the second quarter, he ran past the line of scrimmage on 3rd and goal at the Vikings 8; he ran to the five-yard line and with Vikings defenders ready to pounce at the goalline he flipped the ball sideways to Javon Walker, who caught it just as the penalty flag was thrown; adding insult to injury the Packers missed the ensuing 28 yard chip shot field goal attempt. In the 4th quarter after his second touchdown, Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss faux mooned Packer fans. In the moment, FOX announcer Joe Buck denounced the end zone celebration as "disgusting" and "classless".
In week 10 of the 2007 season the Packers routed the Vikings in only the second, and largest, shutout of the rivalry. The Packers defense stifled the Vikings while the Packers offense held the ball for over 40 minutes in the game. Brett Favre threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 34-0 victory at Lambeau Field. The win pushed the Packers to an 8-1 start to the season.
A missed 52-yard field goal try by the Packers' Mason Crosby with 26 seconds remaining sealed a hard-fought 28-27 Vikings win at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 9, 2008. Gus Frerotte overcame three interceptions (one returned 55 yards by the Packers' Nick Collins for a third-quarter Green Bay touchdown) to throw two touchdowns while Adrian Peterson rushed for 192 yards and the decisive touchdown with 2:22 to go in the fourth. Aaron Rodgers threw for 142 yards but in the second quarter fumbled in the endzone and was flagged for intentional grounding, giving a safety to the Vikings; Jared Allen then sacked Rodgers in the Packers endzone with 52 seconds left in the first half for another Vikings safety.
Monday Night Football earned the highest ratings in cable television history on October 5, 2009 when the Vikings hosted the Packers. The game was the first meeting between the Packers and their former quarterback Brett Favre. With the Vikings wearing throwback uniforms evoking memories of seasons from the 1960s they took over the game when Aaron Rodgers was sacked at the Vikings 33-yard line and fumbled. The Vikings drove downfield as Adrian Peterson rushed six times for 26 yards and Favre threw five times, ending in a one-yard touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe. Rodgers managed a 62-yard touchdown to Jermichael Finley, and after an exchange of touchdowns (a 14-yard Favre pass to Sidney Rice and a Clay Matthews strip-tackle of Peterson returned 42-yards) Favre raced the Vikings to the Packers redzone; a pass to the endzone was picked off but the play was nullified on pass interference, and one play later Peterson rushed in another score. The Vikings never let the Packers closer as they won 30-23, taking a 4-0 record in the 2009 season's first quarter. In the ensuing rematch at Lambeau Field on November 1 Favre erupted with four touchdowns while the Vikings defense snuffed out a late Packers rally for a 38-26 Vikings win.
The Packers ended Brett Favre's winning streak against them in a 28-24 win at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football on October 24, 2010. Three Favre interceptions helped the Packers surge to the 28-24 lead but Favre led a late comeback; an endzone catch by Percy Harvin with 57 seconds remaining was nullified when review showed one foot out of bounds, and the Vikings failed to convert a touchdown in their final attempt. Favre suffered injury to his left ankle that left his season in doubt and coach Brad Childress was livid with the officiating crew led by Scott Green. In the November 21 rematch, the Packers routed the Vikings 31-3 behind four Aaron Rodgers touchdown passes, making Rodgers 2-2 against Favre in his career. The loss dropped the Vikings to 3-7, all but eliminating them from playoff contention. Childress was then fired by the Vikings the next day, and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was promoted to replace him. The Packers, on the other hand, went on to win their fourth Super Bowl.
Adrian Peterson came up nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's 1984 rushing record but his late scamper set up the winning field goal in a 37-34 Vikings win on December 30, 2012. The Packers erased a 20-10 halftime gap but could not close out the win while the Vikings advanced to the playoffs as the NFC's sixth seed.
On January 5, 2013 the Packers defeated the Vikings 24-10 in the Wild Card round just six days after falling to the Vikings in Week 17. The two teams split their regular season games with the home team winning each game. The Playoff game had the same result, being at Lambeau, however the Packers were able to hold Adrian Peterson under 100 yards after he had run for 210 and 199 yards respectively in the first two meetings.
The Packers and Vikings played for the division crown in Week 17 of the 2015 season at Lambeau Field. The Vikings won the contest 20-13, winning their first divisional title since 2009 and breaking the Packers' four-year streak of being division champions.