Next opponent: Vikes, Packers have a storied past

This weekend's game vs. the Vikings comes on the 28th anniversary of one of the series' most memorable game - back when the team from Minnesota still played football the way it was meant to be - outside. In what may have been the best game of the Dan Devine Era, the Packers invaded Metropolitan Stadium 17, 1974 when and completely dominated the eventual NFC Champions 19-7.<P>

"Scrambling" Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman, Alan Page, Jim Marshall and Carl Eller would ultimately lead these Vikings to the Super Bowl but on this 49-degree and partly cloudy day in Bloomington, Minn., John Hadl, John Brockington, Chester Marcol and MacArthur Lane and the rest of the proved the Packers were the better team.

Afterwards Devine called the triumph "our best team effort of the year."

Said Viking coach Bud Grant: "They just played much better than we did and were deserving winners."

A few Packers made a little history in this one, too. Marcol tied the club record with four field goals and Hadl became the sixth player in league history to pass for 30,000 yards as the Packers ended a three-game losing streak to the Vikings.

In addition, Brockington rushed for a career-high 137 yards and his 32 carries were the second most by a Packer back in a game.

"Brockington is one of the very best," Grant said. "His running and the way Hadl mixed up the passes let them control the game."

This may have been one of the Packers' better defensive performances of all-time.

Led by linebacker Fred Carr and cornerback Ken Ellis, Green Bay limited the star-studded Viking offense to 14 first downs, 70 rushing yards and 280 total yards. The Packers held Foreman to 39 yards and Tarkenton didn't become a factor until late in the game.

"We tried to cut down the Vikings' big play," Ellis said. "We cut down Tarkenton's deep passes to (Jim) Gilliam and Chuck Foreman's long runs. That's what you have to do beat Minnesota."

Offensively, the Packers lulled the "Purple People Eaters" to sleep with Brockington and Marcol before springing Lane on them to seal the deal.

The Packers led 6-0 at half on field goals of 28- and 32-yards by Marcol.

Minnesota threatened to get back into the game late in the third quarter when straight-on kicker Fred Cox set up for a field goal. The Packers blocked the attempt and Ellis returned the carom 68 yards to set up a 19-yard three-pointer by Marcol.

The Vikings did get back into the game with 5:08 to go when Tarkenton hit Foreman with a 24-yard scoring pass to cut the Packer deficit to 12-7.

The Packers put the game away shortly thereafter when Hadl and Lane hooked up on a 68-yard screen pass that resulted in a touchdown.

Hadl, making his second start with the Pack, threw a short pass to Lane at the Packer 44.

"I read a blitz going back to pass," Hadl said. (Minnesota safety Paul) Krause had to come up to cover and I tossed it to Lane. He did the rest."

Lane, although hobbled by a bum ankle, turned the short flip into a score after finding some running room in the center of the field.

"I had the idea that if I could get the ball up the middle, I could go all the way," Lane said. "I've been bothered by an ankle sprain but it didn't bother me once I got going full speed on the play."

The win improved the Packers to 5-5 and kept their division title hopes alive.

"There's no question about it," Carr said. "We've got to keep winning and also get some help from the other clubs."

The Packers won the next week but then dropped out of the race by losing their final three games. The Vikings lost one more time then beat the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs before falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-6, in Super Bowl IX in New Orleans' Tulane Stadium.

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