A brief history of the Minnesota Vikings poaching from the Green Bay Packers
Remembering Greg Jennings, Desmond Bishop, and, um, that other guy.
Longtime rivals Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings have combined to win 13 League Championships—including four Super Bowls. Remove the Packers awards from that mantle, however, and the trophy case sits empty. (Excluding some possible expletives regarding Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship game scratched into it.)
Seeking to find a shortcut to narrowing that 13-0 championship gap, the Vikings have a history of taking in former Packers who were either cast out of Green Bay or who were seeking more money or a larger market in which to play. In true Vikings fashion, most of those moves didn’t work out well, including the young Minnesota careers of the two ex-Packs who will be wearing purple during Sunday night’s game. Here are some of the more significant instances of Packers-poaching The A.V. Club has found.
The writing was on the wall for much of last season during Greg Jennings’ last year under contract with the Packers. Before the year was over, the Old Spice pitchman put his Green Bay area home for sale and hinted at his desire to look for more money and notoriety elsewhere. Unfortunately, “elsewhere” was Green Bay’s most hated opponent. Even worse, the two-time Pro Bowler alleged he was “brainwashed” by the Packers organization during his time with them and quickly criticized Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, he’s (occasionally) caught passes from the likes of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman this season alone, and, fittingly, has experienced a drop in production in the process.
After spending all of the 2012 season on Green Bay’s injured reserve (following a great 2011 campaign), the Packers linebacker was released this winter. He quickly inked a deal with Minnesota. Currently on the IR again, he managed just five tackles in four games before being shelved.
Modern Day Turncoats
The Old Gunslinger is an exception to this list. Though he spent 2008 throwing picks and showing dick in New York, he ached to be in Minnesota to exact his revenge against an organization fed up with his flip-flop antics. He got his wish in 2009, and led the Vikings to a 12-4 record and an eventual loss to the bounty gate-era New Orleans Saints on—surprise, surprise—a costly late-game playoff interception. Following that fabled season (by Vikings standards), Favre’s legendary career ended—at the time this was written, at least—in a failed 6-10 year that saw the durable quarterback’s unmatched consecutive games streak ending in his worst statistical season since his rookie year in Atlanta...when he was a third-stringer.
After kicker Chris Jacke used his performance during Green Bay’s Super Bowl run to land a raise with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Longwell won the vacant kicking position for the defending champs. He never looked back, amassing a (still standing) Packers record in points, with a staggering 1,054. Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for Green Bay to re-sign him in 2006. Longwell got into bed with the purple devil and put his record-setting foot into his mouth by saying he was happy he and his wife would now have more dining choices than Applebee’s. He had six above-average seasons in Minneapolis before signing a one-day contract with the Packers this summer to retire in green and gold. Hopefully the gesture will restore his reputation in Title Town. Who knows, maybe he’ll open a restaurant.
After eight seasons, 36 interceptions, five touchdowns, and a pair of All-Pro selections, the Packers released Darren Sharper after the 2004 season. Not two days later, the ink was drying on the veteran safety’s contract with the Vikes. He spent four years in the Minni-Apple, tallying a tremendous 18 INTs and three touchdowns—good for a trio of All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections. However, Sharper needed to go to New Orleans to win his first and only Super Bowl ring in his final season.
Pass! No, not to him; he was terrible as a Packer and somehow even worse during his two-year stint with the Vikings.
To be clear, Tualolo—best known as one of the first openly gay former NFL players—didn’t cross the Mississippi River by his own volition. Partway through the 1992 season, the Hawaiian nose tackle was traded. During his 20-game professional start with Green Bay, he had 4.5 sacks, 53 tackles, and one arrest after a bar fight in which Brett Favre and the future Mrs. Favre, Deanna Tynes, were also arrested. The subsequent 60 games in purple saw Tuaolo tallying just 5.5 sacks and 99 tackles.
In 1987, the former Packers punter found his way to the Twin Cities after a two-season NFL absence. Though Scribner’s career is split virtually in half between the two rivals, he saw an uptick in punts as a Viking, a lower per-punt average, and never got anywhere near the career-long 70-yard punt his had in a Packers uniform.