Posted at 9:08 AM on September 8, 2008
by David Zingler
The Vikings and Packers square off tonight, ushering in a new era of their storied rivalry. I can't help but think back to another Vikings/Packers Monday night contest that, from the Vikings point of view, defined the previous era.
The date was October 5, 1998, the Packers were coming off back-to-back conference titles and sporting a long home winning streak. The Vikings had been 9-7 each of the two previous seasons and qualified for the playoffs, but were not considered to be among the NFL's elite.
The Vikings of course, went on to dominate the Packers on that rainy autumn night, winning 37-24. The world was introduced to a skinny, rookie WR named Randy Moss who sliced and diced the Packers secondary for 190 yards and two long touchdown catches. Randall Cunningham, who was "filling in" for the injured Brad Johnson, reintroduced himself with a 442 yard, 4 TD pass performance.
That is probably my favorite Vikings game of all time. We all know they have never won and Super Bowl and haven't been to one in over 30 years, so that 15-1 1998 season stands as a high water mark for a generation of Vikings fans. That game was the crown jewel of a spectacular regular season. It marked the end of the Packers NFC dominance and really ramped up the Border Battle. The haughty Packer fans got a much needed reality check and Vikings fans' inferiority complex received some temporary relief.
There are three players - Matt Birk, Darren Sharper and Ryan Longwell - who took the field 10 years ago and will be playing at Lambeau tonight. Brett Favre and Randy Moss will restart their intradivision rivalry in new uniforms next Sunday when the Patriots visit the Jets. Three other players: Brad Johnson (Cowboys), Todd Bouman (Ravens) and Vonnie Holliday (Dolphins) are still active.
(Photo by Vincent Laforet/Getty Images)