Vikings at Packers to kick off season

The Sept. 8 game will be first part of 'Monday Night Football' doubleheader and will usher in the start of the Aaron Rodgers era.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Monday that the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings will kick off the 2008 season on "Monday Night Football."

The Sept. 8 game will kick off at 6 p.m. (Central) at Lambeau Field. As has been the custom the last couple of years, the game will be part of an ESPN doubleheader.

The NFL announced only its marquee Week 1 games at the first day of the its three-day owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. The season will begin on Thursday, Sept. 4, with the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants hosting Washington. NBC's Sunday night game will be Chicago against the Colts at Indianapolis' new stadium. Denver will visit Oakland in the second game of the "MNF" doubleheader. The rest of the schedule will not be ready for another week or two.

While a Week 1 nationally televised prime-time game at home would seem a perfect time to retire Brett Favre's number, Packers general manager Ted Thompson during a break at the meetings said the timing on that would be "up to the Favres."

The Packers-Vikings game will mark the start of the Aaron Rodgers era at quarterback. The Vikings have spoiled such a party before. The Packers and Vikings played in Week 1 in 2003 in the first game at the renovated Lambeau Field, with Minnesota winning 30-25. The Vikings led that game 27-3 behind nine catches for 150 yards and a touchdown by Randy Moss and four first-half Packers turnovers.

The Packers are 3-0 in "Monday Night Football" openers. The last time was in 2004, when Green Bay won at defending NFC champion Carolina 24-14. The Packers opened defense of their Super Bowl XXXI title by winning at home against Chicago 38-24 in 1997.

Besides home-and-home games with its NFC North rivals, Green Bay will host Atlanta, Carolina, Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis. The Packers will visit New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Jacksonville and Tennessee.

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