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Pack Vs. Vikes (09/03/2003)
By Dave DeLano

Dave DeLano
I cannot remember the Pack opening the season against a division rival like the Minnesota Vikings in a long time. Seems like a game with all the animosity between these two franchises should be at least midway into the season to create the proper climatic drama. Not this year, though, so what are we to expect next Sunday?

Like most cheeseheads, I don't like the Vikings much. In fact, I don't like the Vikes at all. Someone asked me the other day why that was. .Hmmmm" so many ways to respond" but I chose the issue of ownership. The Vikings are owned by a Texas sloganmeister who in public mindlessly whoops-up his "purple pride" mantra. Meanwhile, behind the scenes old Red employs financial brokers and analysts to determine how much money he could make from the sale of the team to a California venue or elsewhere. And, of course, the fair-haired billionaire continues to pursue his long-time goal of coercing Minnesota taxpayers to build him an unneeded new stadium. Should he ever get his way, of course, his profits would increase even more handsomely from the inevitable sale of the franchise. What a guy.

On the other hand, Packer ownership is with their stockholders. People like me who have voluntarily contributed capital to the nonprofit Packer Corporation without even the potential for profit. Packer shareholders have overcome incredible odds many times in the past by creatively addressing financial problems of a tiny professional football market. The common goal was to keep the Packers viable and in Green Bay. I should fess up right now and clarify that I only own a single share of Packer stock. Nevertheless, every year I get invited to the shareholder's meeting and I get to vote for the Packer's Directors. I, and thousands of other Packer shareholders, enjoy seeing our investment being paid off with occasional football championships without the headache of a slick salesman threatening to run off with the show if his whims are not met.

Anyway" so much for ownership differences. The game next Sunday will mostly be determined on the field by the players and we shall see what will happen. The Packers have won more professional football games in the last two years than any other team in the NFL by posting back-to-back 12 - 4 seasons. Non-believers think that they may have peaked and they may need a season or two to rebuild. The faithful think that the Packers need to prove this season that they are not stuck in the "good, but not great" mode and hope that Brett Favre has enough left in the tank to lead them to another Super Bowl victory.

The Vikings have struggled lately and have won just 11 games in the past two seasons. For many years this team has been horribly misbalanced with lots of offense and very little defense. That being said, the Vikings have had some high draft picks and have made some aggressive free agent pick-ups on the defensive side which seemingly have improved their lot for 2003.

It should be a close and interesting game. I see it this way. Both teams have major concerns about the status of their special teams. Offenses are approximately even, with the Vikes maybe enjoying a smidgeon of advantage. On defense, the Pack has a leg up on the Vikes. The Packers have a huge coaching advantage and, of course, are playing at home in Lambeau on the weekend that many activities are planned to celebrate the renovation of Lambeau field. All factors considered, the Pack should win a fairly high scoring game. The outcome will likely foretell the fate of the forthcoming season for both teams.

D H D 


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