Vikings Fans Could Potentially Cheer for the Packers to Go to The Super Bowl

Nov 23, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) fumbles the ball while being hit by Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) in the first quarter at Ford Field. Goff’s fumble was recovered by Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens (34) and returned for a touchdown. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, you’re a fan of two teams: the Vikings, and whoever plays the Green Bay Packers.

Outside of the obvious reasons, like being in the same division since 1961 and sharing a state border, the Packers and their fans unfortunately have something that the Vikings don’t: championships. And if you weren’t aware of that fact, that’s because you haven’t ever talked to a Packer fan.

The Packers have won 13 championships throughout their 103-year history. Six of these came prior to legendary head coach Vince Lombardi’s arrival in 1959. They then won three more NFL Championships under Lombardi before winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 seasons. Green Bay would add to the trophy case in 1996 with Brett Favre at quarterback and 2010 when Aaron Rodgers, Favre’s replacement, helped them win it all.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) prepares to throw a pass as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) rushes in during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Vikings have had some of the best teams and players in the Super Bowl era, they’ve never won it all. They lost four Super Bowls between 1969 and 1976. Since then, they have reached the NFC Championship Game six times. Unfortunately, they lost all six. This included a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 Title Game. Favre, who joined the Vikings prior to the regular season, threw an ill-advised interception over the middle that prevented the team from kicking the game-winning field goal. Instead, the Vikings would lose in overtime.

There are numerous other reasons to hate the Packers and the success they’ve had. They managed to seamlessly transition from Favre to Rodgers, giving the team sustained success and dominance in the division from 1992 until Rodgers’ departure last year. Their fans infiltrated the Metrodome and have done the same at US Bank Stadium. That “Go, Pack, Go” chant can fill the stadium and make you think you’ve lost your mind. And, most of all, their constant reminder that they have tons of championships and the Vikings, for all of their regular season success, have none.

Should Vikings Fans Root for the Packers?

Vikings Fans packers
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, though, I find myself conflicted when I ponder the possibility of the Packers facing the Lions in the NFC Championship. To say that I hate the Lions like I despise the Packers and Bears would be a lie. For most of the Vikings’ existence they’ve had the Lions’ number. The Vikings hold a 78-39-2 all-time record against them. Sure, things have changed in the past three years with head coach Dan Campbell leading Detroit. But hatred? Nah.

And perhaps that’s why I feel torn in this nightmare scenario. Sure, the Vikings have had terrible postseason fortune. But the Lions have had even worse postseason success than Minnesota. This season they won their first division title since 1993. They have only made the playoffs four times since Barry Sanders retired following the 1998 season. But no stat encapsulates their run of ineptitude like this one: the Lions have won one playoff game since 1957.

When the Packers find success with Jordan Love replacing Aaron Rodgers, you throw your hands up and say, “Yep, of course that worked out for them. It always works out for them.” In the past, Vikings fans could be disappointed that they didn’t have the fortune of Packers fans. But they could always say, “It could be worse. We could be Detroit.”

The Lions had the first 0-16 season in NFL history. Even when they had Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, they weren’t a true threat. All but one NFC team has made it to the Super Bowl since the Vikings’ last appearance after the 1976 season. That one team is the Lions, and that’s because they’re one of four NFL teams to never reach the big game. The smack talk that you hear from Packers fans was non-existent with Lions fans. You’d apologize to them for being Lions fans and mean it.

I know that the likelihood of the Packers and Lions meeting in the NFC Championship Game this season is low. The Lions have a tough game with the Rams, who are quarterbacked by longtime Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. But the energy at Ford Field will be electric as the Lions host their first playoff game in 30 years. Win that game and the Lions would host either the Eagles or Buccaneers in the divisional round if the Packers beat the Cowboys.

Nov 12, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

If the Packers were to lose, the Lions would have to travel to San Francisco. The 49ers have appeared to be far and away the best team in the NFC, but the Lions could prove to be a tough matchup for them. The path for the Lions is certainly there, regardless of how they looked down the stretch of the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Packers face the toughest path to the NFC Championship game. They are the bottom seed in the conference and have to travel to Jerry World to face the Cowboys. Dallas hasn’t lost at home all season and are seven-point favorites according to FanDuel. If the Packers were to pull off the upset, they would be rewarded with a trip to San Francisco to face the 49ers. It seems impossible for the Packers to pull of back-to-back upsets of this caliber, but “it always works out for them”.

With two wins apiece, this would send the Packers to Detroit for the NFC Championship. If the Packers were to win, it’d be more ammunition for their fans to hold over our heads. But if they lose? They’d still have 13 championships to hold over our heads. I can’t say that this one Super Bowl appearance would make their fans any more or less annoying in the grand scheme of things.

If the Lions were to lose, it would be easy for us Vikings fans (and the collective league) to say, “Welp, same old Lions.” But if they were to win, Detroit fans would be able to have legitimate bragging rights over us like the Packers. The Bears still have the 1985 team to hang their hats on. A Super Bowl appearance for the Lions would make the Vikings the NFC North punching bag until proven otherwise.

Of course, this could all be made easier if the Packers lose on Sunday to the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions could still get to the Super Bowl and all of the above would be true anyway. But at least I wouldn’t have to suffer through cheering for the Packers of all teams to make it to the Super Bowl.