This book, "Leatherheads of the North," explains the origins of the Upper Midwest's important role in the formation of the NFL.

Is the Packers vs. Vikings a lost rivalry?

Nick McAndrews of The Viking Age, the Minnesota Vikings blog site, brings up a very important question as we head into the 2012 season: has the Packers vs. Vikings rivalry been long forgotten?

Not only has the rivalry tempered the past couple of years because of the re-emergence of the Packers vs. Bears, but he feels the historical rivalry between Wisconsin and Minnesota, especially the football rivalries that go back to the early days of the NFL, have also been neglected.

McAndrews points to an article, “50 greatest rivalries in the NFL,” and states that nowhere is the upper Midwest Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalries mentioned.

When I first started reading McAndrew’s piece, I thought to myself, ‘but the Viking have only been around since 1961.’

McAndrews’ history lesson straightened me out quickly.

You can read about it in its entirety here, but in a nutshell what he went on to explain were the ties of the Duluth Eskimos – which played the Packers several times during the 1920s – to the Vikings of today. And you know what? He convinced me.

Though the Vikings of 2012 may not be the powerhouse NFL team of this season, they have long been one of the most formidable opponents of the Packers, Bears and Lions and contribute strongly to the notion that the upper Midwest sporting rivalries should always be considered when compiling lists of great rivalries.

In addition to that, McAndrews suggests the Vikings take his historical lesson one step further and work with Nike to design a throwback uniform for the Vikings that could honor the Duluth Eskimos and their role in the development of the NFL and one of the best rivalries in the world of sports. I couldn’t agree more.

As we head into the 2012 season, we focus on the here and now, but we should also continue to look back over our shoulders to remember the days that have gone by and those who have made this game great.

So, thanks Nick. Thanks for allowing us the chance to remember what has been and to put some accurate historical perspective into the game we love.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Decatur Staleys Detroit Lions Duluth Eskimos Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings

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