The NFC North is known by NFL fans as the “Black and Blue Division,” due to the intensity and historical nature of the division. Today, due to the aforementioned intensity, we are going to rank and go over each rivalry within the division.
Please note that we are only ranking rivalries that involve the four current members of the NFC North: the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. We will not be ranking any rivalries involving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were actually members of this division from 1977-2001 when it was known as the NFC Central.
Now, let’s rank and talk about these rivalries! This is going to be a bit long since we are going to dive into not only the rivalry backgrounds, but also some notable games.
No. 1: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
I mean, did you really expect anything different? You can’t talk about the NFL without mentioning the rivalry between the Bears and Packers. Bears-Packers is the NFL equivalent of Red Sox-Yankees and Celtics-Lakers. It’s the league’s most historical rivalry for a reason.
This rivalry began in 1921 and no two teams have met more than these two, with 205 games played between these bitter rivals. Largely due to the dominance of quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, the Packers currently lead this rivalry 104-95-6 despite trailing by a whopping 24 games back in 1992. Including a 2010 NFC Championship win, Favre and Rodgers have gone on to combine for a 33-15 record against the Bears as members of the Packers.
This rivalry has included several memorable moments. In the first game between the two teams in November 1921, the Bears (then known as the Staleys), shutout the Packers 20-0. From 1928-1930, the Packers returned the favor and pitched a rivalry-record five straight shutouts of the Bears.
In the 1950s, these two teams had some memorable moments. First off, this rivalry saw its highest-scoring matchup in 1955 in the form of a 52-31 Bears routing. The game was once 45-3 in favor of the Bears before the Packers came back and proceeded to outscore them by a score of 28-7. This was also the legendary George Halas’ last game against the Packers until 1958, as he took a break from coaching.
Two years later, the Packers opened up New City Stadium, which is now known as Lambeau Field, to the public with a comeback win over the Bears. A late touchdown from quarterback Babe Parilli to wide receiver Gary Knafelc gave the Packers a 21-17 win over their fiercest rivals.
On September 27, 1959, Vince Lombardi made his introduction into the rivalry with a 9-6 win that saw Packers running back Jim Taylor score a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the Packers ahead for good. Lombardi was the last Packer coach to win his first game against the Bears until current head coach Matt LaFleur repeated the feat in 2019.
The 1980s also produced many memorable moments between the two teams. After the Packers defeated the Bears 12-6 in the 1980 season opener, the Bears retaliated later that season by putting up a whopping 61-7 win that saw Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan continuing to send in blitzes from all angles even after the Packers went down 48-7 and benched their starters.
Six years later during a November 1986 game, the two teams saw their most infamous incident occur when Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin body-slammed Bears quarterback Jim McMahon to the ground following a McMahon interception. This ignited a brawl between the two sides that ultimately resulted in Martin being ejected from the game and given a then-NFL record two-game suspension. The brawl also notably saw Bears offensive lineman Jimbo Covert stand up for his quarterback with a late hit on Martin prior to his ejection. Although a flag was thrown on Covert’s hit, referee Jerry Markbreit decided to pick up the flag and not penalize him, understanding the reasoning of his actions. The Bears won the game 12-10.
The 1990s and 2000s saw Brett Favre make his mark on the rivalry, starting on Halloween night of 1994. Despite dealing with a severely bruised hip, Favre played in the game that was taking place in a monsoon at Soldier Field. The Packers scored five rushing touchdowns in a 33-6 win, but none were more notable than Favre’s 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that saw him leap over a Bears defender. This game saw Favre cemented as a “Bear-killer,” and began a 10-game winning streak for the Packers in the rivalry that wasn’t snapped until November 7, 1999, when the Bears went to Lambeau Field and upset the Packers 14-13 in the first game following the death of legendary running back Walter Payton. The Packers’ Halloween night win at Soldier Field also sparked an 11-game winning streak for the team in Illinois that wasn’t snapped until 2005, a season that saw the Bears accumulate their first sweep of Favre.
Favre went on to compile a 22-10 record against the Bears as the Packers quarterback, but what he did to them is nothing compared to what his successor, Rodgers, would do to them in his career.
Rodgers made his mark in the rivalry in January 2011. It started on January 2, when the Bears met the Packers at Lambeau Field in a game that had significant playoff implications for the home team. Although they had the second seed and a first round bye locked up, Bears coach Lovie Smith played his starters wanting to keep the Packers out of the playoffs. In a defensive battle, Rodgers’ late touchdown pass to tight end Donald Lee gave the Packers a 10-3 win and the sixth seed in the playoffs. Packers safety Nick Collins would seal the win with an interception off Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the game’s final minute.
Three weeks later, the two would meet again at Soldier Field in the NFC Championship Game. The game saw a rather sub-par performance by Rodgers, who threw two interceptions and compiled a passer rating of 55.4, but scored a pivotal rushing touchdown that gave the Packers an early 14-0 lead. Despite an injury to starting quarterback Cutler, the Bears rallied back from a 21-7 deficit and were in position to tie the game when backup quarterback Caleb Hanie threw the game-ending interception to Packers cornerback Sam Shields. The Packers would go onto win Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers following this win.
In 2013, the Bears and Packers met for a Monday Night Football game at Lambeau Field that saw Rodgers suffer the first major injury of his career, which happened when linebacker Shea McClellin sacked him and fractured his left collarbone in the process. The Bears went on to win the game 27-20, and Rodgers would miss seven weeks. However, the 8-7 Bears and 7-7-1 Packers would meet in the season finale at Soldier Field that has come to be known as the “4th and 7 Game.” The outcome of this game was simple: the winner clinches the North, and the loser is eliminated from playoff contention. Making his return from his broken collarbone, Rodgers threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions, but his second touchdown pass of the game saved the season for the Packers. Having already converted a fourth down twice on the final drive, the Packers would need a third conversion when faced with a fourth down and seven from the Bears’ 48. Rodgers escaped a sack by defensive end Julius Peppers and threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb. The touchdown gave the Packers a 33-28 lead that they would hold for good as they won the game and the division.
Five years later, Rodgers made another injury comeback against the Bears. Trailing 10-0 late in the second quarter, Rodgers suffered an apparent leg injury during a sack by Bears defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris. Playing backup quarterback DeShone Kizer, newly-acquired Bear linebacker Khalil Mack would go on to record a strip-sack, fumble recovery, and pick-six (all off Kizer) as the Bears built a 20-0 lead at one point in the game. However, Rodgers returned to the game and cut the Bears lead to 20-3 by the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter saw Rodgers explode with three touchdown passes, as the Packers outscored the Bears 21-3 for the rest of the game and went on to win the game 24-23. However, the teams would move in opposite directions going forward. Led by Mack and a dominating defense, the Bears won the division for the first time since 2010 with a 12-4 record. For the Packers, Rodgers’ relationship with head coach Mike McCarthy as well as the leg injury, which was later revealed to be a broken tibia, bothered him for the rest of the season. The team finished 6-9-1 that season and found themselves eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15 with a loss to none other than those same Bears that they beat in Week 1. By the time Week 15 rolled around, McCarthy had been fired two weeks prior and would be replaced the following offseason by LaFleur, who to date has gone 7-0 against the Bears.
To date, Rodgers has a 23-5 record against the Bears, including the NFC Championship win. I could go on and torture Bear fans more, but I won’t do that. Let’s move on to the next rivalry!
No. 2: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Although this doesn’t have the historical relevance that Bears-Packers does, the Packers-Vikings rivalry is considered by many to be the best rivalry within the division today. This is partially due to the fact that the Vikings have been the biggest division challenger to the Packers since the Favre-Rodgers era began in 1992. While the Packers have won nearly 75% of their games against fellow divisional rivals Bears and Lions since 1992, they have only won slightly over 50% of their games against the Vikings in that same time span.
Here’s a cool stat for you: while the Bears and Lions have combined for just three season sweeps over Favre and/or Rodgers since 1992 (two by the Bears and one by the Lions), the Vikings alone have six sweeps (this includes 2018 when the Vikings went 1-0-1 against the Packers).
This rivalry started in 1961 when the Vikings joined the league as an expansion team. The Packers initially dominated the rivalry, as they won all but three games from 1961-67 under head coach Vince Lombardi. However, the Vikings under head coach Bud Grant would dominate the next 12 seasons, winning all but four games against the Packers from 1968-1979, which included four consecutive sweeps from 1975-78. After the Packers went 16-9 against the Vikings from 1980-1991, the rivalry began to heat up in 1992.
The Vikings’ reputation as being the biggest challenger to the Packers’ divisional dominance began during Favre’s first season as a Packer. During the decade, Favre went 6-9 in 15 games against the purple and gold. This included Favre losing his first three games against the Vikings and getting swept twice (1993 and 1998). The legendary Metrodome also proved to be the Packers’ kryptonite during this decade, as they went just 2-8 in the venue during the decade (including a 1-7 record under Favre). While the Packers came out of the decade with two Super Bowl appearances (XXXI and XXXII) and a victory (XXXI), the two teams both won three divisional titles in the decade.
Favre and the Packers found more success against the Vikings to kick off the 2000s, compiling a 7-3 record from 2000-2004, but then the two teams met in the playoffs for the first time in 2004 at Lambeau Field. In a 31-17 Vikings win that is most notable for the Randy Moss moon, Favre threw four interceptions in what was statistically the worst playoff game of his career, while Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper countered that with four touchdown passes.
Favre became the rivalry’s most central figure in the late 2000s. After the playoff meeting, the Packers drafted Rodgers in the following offseason. Favre went 4-2 against the Vikings in the following three seasons, but then temporarily retired from the NFL following the 2007 season. Unwilling to bring back Favre as the starter as they wanted to stick with Rodgers, the Packers traded him to the New York Jets, where he spent the 2008 season, before signing with, you guessed it, the Vikings right before the 2009 season started.
Rodgers ended his first season as a starting quarterback with a 6-10 record and out of the playoffs. One of these losses came in Minnesota, where a missed field goal by Mason Crosby sealed a 28-27 Vikings win. Speaking of the Vikings, they went on to win the NFC North that year with a 10-6 record. Now, why don’t we talk about Favre’s first game against his former team?
On October 5, 2009, the now Favre-led Vikings, sitting atop of the division at 3-0, hosted Rodgers and the 2-1 Packers in what became the then-most watched Monday Night Football game of all-time. Favre threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings raced out to a 30-14 lead before holding on for a 30-23 win. Despite passing for a then-career high 384 yards, Rodgers was sacked eight times, including 4.5 times by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, and committed two costly turnovers that the Vikings turned into two touchdowns. Favre notched one more victory against his former team four weeks later, when the Vikings beat the Packers 38-26 at Lambeau Field. Favre and Rodgers met twice more, both in 2010, and the Packers won both meetings. Rodgers and the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl that season while Favre’s season, and ultimately career, ended early due to a concussion.
The rivalry briefly lacked relevance from 2011-2013, a span that saw the Packers go 4-1-1 against the Vikings. In 2012, the Vikings beat the Packers in the season finale at the Metrodome to get into the playoffs. A week later, the two teams met for their second playoff meeting at Lambeau, which the Packers won 24-10.
The arrival of now-former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer saw a resurgence of the rivalry. Zimmer went 7-8-1 against the Packers during his tenure in Minnesota, and was the most successful non-Packer NFC North coach since the Bears’ Lovie Smith. The most notable game that happened in the Zimmer era came on October 15, 2017 in Minneapolis, when Viking linebacker Anthony Barr drilled Rodgers to the ground in a somewhat dirty hit. The hit ultimately fractured Rodgers’ right collarbone, his second such injury in four years, and knocked him out for the season with the exception of one game. This hit was seen as the turning point for both teams’ seasons by many fans. The Vikings went on to win the division at 13-3, while the Packers finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Zimmer also guided the Vikings to many other notable wins over the Packers during his time, most notably a win in Lambeau Field during the final week of the year that clinched Minnesota’s first NFC North crown since 2009, and leading them to the team’s first win in U.S. Bank Stadium, which was over the Packers, in 2016.
I could talk about this exciting rivalry forever, but I can’t. Let’s move on to the next rivalry!
No. 3: Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
Bears-Vikings seems like a somewhat odd choice for the third spot, but it has the argument for the most underrated rivalry in the division. This is a rivalry that has featured several offensive shootouts and many upset wins.
This rivalry had the indications of an upset-filled one in the Vikings’ very first game as a franchise. Playing the Bears at the old Metropolitan Stadium, the expansion Vikings stunned George Halas’ squad by a final score of 37-13 in a game that featured four touchdown passes by Fran Tarkenton.
The Bears’ first notably significant upset of the Vikings came during their Super Bowl-winning 1985 season. In a rare Thursday Night game at the Metrodome that has come to be known as “The Viking Miracle,” the Bears came out of halftime trailing 17-9 when Jim McMahon, who was ruled out of the game due to back spasms, convinced coach Mike Ditka to let him come into the game. The result? McMahon engineered 21 points for the Bears, as his first two passes of the game were a 70-yard touchdown strike and a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the following possession. McMahon would later lead a third scoring drive in a game that the Bears would win 33-24.
The 1990s featured some notable games in Minneapolis between the two franchises. The first game came in 1992, when the Vikings overcame a 20-0 fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Bears 21-20. The Vikings’ rally was kickstarted by defensive back Todd Scott returning an interception by Jim Harbaugh for a 35-yard touchdown for the Vikings’ first score, and the team would go on to use a sideline meltdown between Harbaugh and coach Ditka as a launching pad for their comeback. Three seasons later in Minneapolis, the two teams met for the first time in the playoffs at the Metrodome. Despite being swept by the Vikings in the regular season, the Bears won the playoff game by a score of 35-18, a game that saw Bears quarterback Steve Walsh throw for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
The offensive prowess of this rivalry showed itself in the late 2000s, and all three games about to be discussed took place at Soldier Field. In 2007, the two teams met in a game that saw Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson and Bears kick return man Devin Hester combine for 508 total yards (233 for Peterson, 275 for Hester). Peterson’s 224 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns put the Vikings in front 31-17 with 4:10 remaining, but Bears quarterback Brian Griese threw two touchdowns, including an 81-yard strike to Hester, in a span of 56 seconds late in the game to tie it. However, Viking quarterback Tarvaris Jackson led the team down the field and the Vikings escaped with a walk off field goal that resulted in a 34-31 win. While the two teams combined for 902 yards of offense, four Bears turnovers proved to be the difference.
In 2008, Soldier Field hosted the highest-scoring game in the rivalry, as the Bears beat the Vikings 48-41 in a game that featured Kyle Orton of the Bears throwing for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Four interceptions by Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte as well as two botched punts proved to be the difference for the Bears, who scored two touchdowns off of the Vikings’ special team miscues.
Finally, we have the 2009 Monday Night Football contest in Chicago. After three quarters, the Bears led 23-6 off three Robbie Gould field goals and two Jay Cutler touchdown passes. Coming into this game, Brett Favre was 0-42 in his career when his team trailed by at 17 or more points at any point in a game, but he rallied the Vikings back and the game was quickly tied at 23 all. After an exchange of touchdowns, the game headed to overtime at 30-all. Despite Gould missing a field goal in overtime, the Vikings committed the game’s biggest mistake when Peterson fumbled at his own 39-yard line after catching a pass from Favre. The play after Peterson’s fumble saw Cutler hit receiver Devin Aromashodu for a game-ending touchdown that gave the Bears a 36-30 win.
Speaking of that Favre stat mentioned earlier, he finished his career 0-45 (including the game we are going to talk about next) in games where his team trailed by at least 17 points.
A 2010 Monday Night meeting that was supposed to be held at the Metrodome was relocated to TCF Bank Stadium due to a roof collapse, the Vikings’ first outdoor game since 1981. The Bears won the game and the NFC North with a 40-14 win that saw Hester set the league record for most return touchdowns with a 66-yard punt return score. What was most notable, however, was this: this game was Brett Favre’s final NFL game. After making a surprise return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him the previous week, Favre threw an early touchdown to Percy Harvin, but was then sacked by Bears defensive end Corey Wootton in the second quarter and suffered a concussion that knocked him out early. Due to his inability to pass the league’s new post-concussion tests, Favre missed the final two games of the season. He would announce his third (and final) retirement at season’s end.
In 2013, during the teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, Viking quarterback Matt Cassel led his team back from a 20-10 fourth quarter deficit to send the game to overtime. After an exchange of missed game-winning field goals, Blair Walsh hit a 34-yarder to win it for Minnesota. Five years later, in the teams’ last notable meeting to date, the Bears, despite having already clinched the NFC North, played their starters in the season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium and knocked the Vikings out of playoff contention with a 24-10 win.
No. 4: Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
This old rivalry lacks the significance it used to, but this is actually the longest-running rivalry in the NFL, as the two teams have met at least once a season since this rivalry was inaugurated in 1930. This rivalry doesn’t have a lot of notable meetings but is still one between two historical franchises.
The first NFL playoff game was actually between these two teams, and it happened in 1932. Despite no playoffs actually happening with the NFL rewarding the championship to the team with the best regular season record, the 6-1-4 Lions (then known as the Spartans and based in Portsmouth) and 6-1-6 Bears finished with the same record. At the time, ties didn’t count toward winning percentages, so that is what necessitated this game. The Bears won 9-0 to claim the league title, but the playoff game became so popular that the league decided to split into two divisions and schedule an annual playoff game between the two division champions. This is the only playoff meeting between the two teams to date.
Two years later in 1934, the 10-1 Lions, now based in Detroit and having adopted the Lions name, began the annual tradition of hosting a Thanksgiving game by hosting the 11-0 Bears. The Bears came back from a 16-7 halftime deficit to defeat the Lions 19-16 and win the Western Division. These two have gone on to meet 18 times on Thanksgiving, with the Bears holding a 10-8 advantage and a current three-game Thanksgiving win streak.
In 1971, the meeting between the two teams in Detroit featured the only to date occurrence of an NFL player passing away on the field. Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes suffered a heart attack during the game and was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
The 2000 season finale between these teams is what sparked the Lions infamously hiring Matt Millen in the front office. Needing a win to make the playoffs, an early 10-0 lead for the Lions quickly became a 20-17 deficit, and a last-second field goal sealed a 23-20 Bears win and eliminated the Lions from playoff contention. The Lions went on to hire Millen as their President and CEO, a man who went on to assemble the coaching staff that led the Lions to an 0-16 record in 2008.
The 2010 season opener was the game that came to be known as the “Calvin Johnson Game.” Johnson appeared to have caught a late go-ahead touchdown in the back of the end zone, but was ruled to have not completed the so-called process of the catch despite having the ball in both hands with both feet in the end zone. The play was reviewed but the ruling was upheld. This play, along with the Dez Bryant no-catch in the 2014 playoffs, is seen as to what caused the league’s catch rule to be changed in both 2015 and 2018.
No. 5: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
The Lions-Packers rivalry, similar to the Bears-Lions rivalry, is a rivalry between two historical franchises that holds an NFL record for longevity. This rivalry is the longest-running continuous series in the league, as the two teams have met twice a year with no canceled games since 1932. However, Lions-Packers has a little more history to it and has featured some notable meetings.
A 1945 game between the two teams saw the Packers win 57-21 and set the most points scored in a quarter with 41. The Lions jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before the Packers exploded in the second quarter with the aforementioned 41 points. This scoring bonanza saw Packers receiver Don Hutson catch a league record four touchdown passes in a single quarter. Hutson also made five out of six extra point attempts, giving him an NFL record 29 points scored in a single quarter. So in short, Don Hutson essentially led the Packers to a win that day.
From 1992 to 2014, the Packers held a 24-game home winning streak over the Lions. This is the longest home winning streak against a divisional rival by any team in NFL history.
In 1993 and 1994, the two teams met in consecutive playoff meetings. The first one, held in Detroit, saw the Packers win 28-24 due to a Brett Favre touchdown pass to receiver Sterling Sharpe with 55 seconds left. This is the Lions’ last home playoff game to date and was their first ever playoff loss at home. The second playoff meeting was all Packers, as they held star running back Barry Sanders and the Lions as a whole to negative rushing yardage. The Packers’ 16-12 win was their first win over the Lions at Lambeau Field since 1985 (the Packers’ home winning streak saw three games won at the old Milwaukee County Stadium).
The Packers’ 31-21 win over the Lions in the 2008 season finale saw the Lions complete the first 0-16 season in NFL history, a record later matched by the 2017 Cleveland Browns.
The 2011 season finale between the two teams at Lambeau saw the 14-1 Packers, who were resting their starters as they locked up the NFC’s top playoff seed, win an offensive shootout 45-41. Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn torched the Lions to the tune of franchise single-game passing records of 480 yards and six touchdowns. This is the highest scoring matchup of the rivalry and the first regular season meeting that saw both teams come into the game with at least 10 wins each.
The two teams, sporting identical 11-4 records and locked into playoff spots, met in 2014 at Lambeau Field for the season finale that determined the NFC North champion. Playing on an injured calf, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to an early 14-0 lead before re-injuring the calf after defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh stepped on it. Rodgers’ absence saw the Lions tie the game at 14-all, but his return sparked the Packers on a 16-6 scoring run. The 30-20 win clinched the NFC North crown for the team.
This scenario would repeat itself in 2016, when the two teams met on Sunday Night Football in Detroit in a game that would determine the division winner. Similar to 2014, the Lions and Packers both came into the game with 9-6 records and locked into a playoff spot. And just like 2014, Rodgers led the Packers past the Lions to clinch the division. After trailing the Lions 14-10 at halftime, the Packers went on a 21-3 scoring run before a late Lions touchdown made the final score 31-24.
The 2015 season featured two very notable meetings between the two teams. In the game at Lambeau Field, the Lions finally got their first win in Wisconsin since 1991. Although the Lions took an 18-10 lead with under two minutes left thanks to a Matthew Stafford touchdown pass, Rodgers rallied the Packers back thanks to a touchdown. The two-point try failed, but a botched onside kick recovery by Calvin Johnson gave the Packers one more chance. The Lions’ win was sealed when Mason Crosby horrifically missed a 52-yard field goal attempt on the game’s final play. Three weeks later, during a Thursday Night rematch in Detroit, it looked like the Lions would sweep the Packers for the first time since 2015 when a late facemask call gave Rodgers and the offense one last final play. In the signature play of his career, Rodgers threw a Hail Mary pass that was caught by tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone for a walk-off 61-yard touchdown. The play gave the Packers the win and has come to be known as the “Miracle in Motown.”
The last notable meeting to date came in 2019. During a Monday Night Football contest at Lambeau, the Packers overcame three turnovers and rallied from a 22-13 fourth-quarter deficit to win 23-22 despite never leading during the game. However, their comeback was assisted by the officials who called two phantom penalties on Lions pass rusher Trey Flowers late in the fourth quarter, both of which were for illegal use of hands. The first penalty enabled the Packers to score a touchdown and cut the deficit to 22-20. The second penalty, which would’ve forced a fourth down, allowed the Packers to instead bleed out the clock and set up an easier game winning field goal attempt.
No. 6: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
Partly due to the Vikings coming into the league at a time where the Lions began to become the franchise they are now, the Lions-Vikings rivalry has never really developed during the 62 years that Minnesota has been in the NFL. Thus, this is an easy choice for number six.
The Vikings lead the series 80-40-2, which makes this rivalry the most lopsided in the NFC based on winning percentage. This is the only NFC North rivalry without any postseason meetings and also lacks significant regular season meetings. The Lions have only swept the Vikings five times throughout the history of this rivalry: 1962, 1992, 2011, 2014, and 2016.
This rivalry only started getting notable moments in the 1990s. The first of these started in 1992, when the Lions swept the Vikings for the first time in 30 years, highlighted by Barry Sanders rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the game in Minneapolis. Three years later, a Thanksgiving game in Detroit saw the highest scoring game in this rivalry, a 44-38 Lions win.
In 1999, the two teams played in Minneapolis for the right to host a Wild Card game. This contest saw the Vikings come away with a 24-17 win. Had the Lions won, they would have hosted the Vikings the following week.
An 18-2 decade by the Vikings in the 2000s (the Lions only won games in 2001 and 2007 and both were in Detroit) was highlighted by the infamous Dan Orlovsky incident. With 18 seconds left in the first quarter, Viking defensive end Jared Allen made Orlovsky run out of the back of the end zone for a safety. The Vikings won the game 20-16.
With the arrival of quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions put up a decent fight against the Vikings in the 2010s, with the decade going 11-9 in favor of the Vikings. In 2016 and 2017, the two teams met in Detroit on Thanksgiving in consecutive years, with the two teams splitting the meetings. The Lions won in 2016 and the Vikings won in 2017.
The most recent notable moment to come out of this rivalry came in 2021. The Vikings came into a game in Detroit over the winless Lions favored by a touchdown, but an early 6-0 lead evaporated into a 20-6 halftime deficit. A second half shootout saw the Vikings on top 27-23 with 1:50 to go, but they left too much time for new quarterback Jared Goff, who threw the game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock to give the Lions their first win of the season.
That is all for today. I hope you enjoyed the rankings of these rivalries. Please feel free to comment below your personal opinions and maybe leave your own personal NFC North rivalry rankings. Thank you for reading this blog!