In a drama filled offseason, the Packers lost two key defensive players to one of their biggest rivals. The Minnesota Vikings signed former Packers’ Za’Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan to multi year deals. Both players were expecting big contracts from the Packers, but that never came to be.
This isn’t the first time a former Packer has joined the Vikings (sometime out of spite). It’s actually a common occurrence in the 21st century. Here are just some of the players who have made the trip past the Mississippi river to play for the Purple and Yellow.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Bostick, Robert Ferguson, Desmond Bishop, Datone Jones, Javon Walker
Darren Sharper (signed with Minnesota in 2005)
In his first eight seasons with the Packers, Sharper was already putting a Hall of Fame resume together. He had two All Pro seasons and led the league in interceptions in 2000. But Sharper was cut in 2005 after declining a pay cut. That set up a perfect situation for revenge. He would sign a four year $10 million contract with the Vikings just a week later.
The former Packer would go on to have a solid tenure with the Vikings, going to two Pro Bowls. But he never had the team success he had with Green Bay. He would lose five straight to Green Bay during his time with Minnesota, and got released in 2009.
Ryan Longwell (2006)
This one hurt.
Longwell in 2005 had become the Packers all time leading score after only nine seasons with the team. But after an awful year, Green Bay moved on from Longwell to find their next kicker (it ended up working out).
But Ryan was able to find a job on the other side of the Mississippi where he kicked for 6 more seasons. He became one of the league’s most efficient kickers in that time. In every season with Minnesota, he made at least 83% of his kicks.
The former Packers all time leading scorer would end up retiring a Packer, not a Viking. So there was no bad blood.
However, people tend to forget what he did in the offseason of 2009. With the Vikings needing a quarterback, Longwell became a recruiter. He had an old friend from years ago looking for a team to play on. Any guesses on who that was?
Brett Favre (2009)
Well the biggest name on the list had the biggest impact.
After Favre-Watch had lasted for over five years, the Packers had moved on to Aaron Rodgers as their QB. Brett was exiled to the Jets for a year, then wanted to get revenge on the Green and Gold. He signed a two year deal to play with the vikings in 2009 and 2010.
10 years ago today, Brett Favre signed with the Vikings at age 39.
His 2009 season was wild.
– 12-4 record
– Pro Bowl
– NFC title game
– Career-low INT
– Highest completion %
– Highest passer rating
– 1st QB to defeat every team
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 18, 2019
Well, the former Packer turned Viking didn’t miss a beat. 2009 was arguably Favre’s best season in the NFL. He threw for 4200 yards and 33 touchdowns, and took the Vikings from the pit of the NFC north to the NFC Championship game.
Injuries ended Favre’s career in 2010, but the images of Favre in the Purple and Yellow still scare Packer fans to this day. He ended up retiring his number at Lambeau, but his legacy is still tarnished by this decision.
Greg Jennings (2012)
Out of all the players listed, Greg’s legacy as a Packer was tarnished the most by this decision.
Jennings was a fan favorite in Green Bay, as he excelled with both Favre and Rodgers during the transition years in 2007 and 2008. Jennings also helped the Packers win a Super Bowl in 2010, catching a touchdown in the big game.
After making back to back Pro Bowls, Jennings wanted the big money. The Packers simply didn’t have it. So after 2012, out of spite possibly, he signed a massive 5 year $48 million contract with the Vikings. It all went downhill from there.
Jennings would decline his next two years in Minnesota, equally being released. In his post playing career, Jennings has taken every opportunity to bash his former quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If you just type “Greg Jennings” on Google, the only results are articles and videos of him bashing the Packers. It’s what he’s known for across the league.
Greg Jennings joined the show today and gave more context to his issues with Aaron Rodgers. pic.twitter.com/1s6OB8czAL
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 2, 2016
He has yet to have a reunion with the Packers, and likely missed a chance of being inducted in the Packers Hall of Fame. Never say never, but it looks like the former Packers receiver turned to the Vikings missed his chance at a homecoming.