Before the Packers won the last four matchups, the series was tied 44-44-1. Because the teams are perennial contenders for the NFC North Division title, it probably has surpassed Packers-Bears in terms of intensity, if not history.
So, when the Packers filed tampering charges against the Vikings on July 16 — accusing their rivals to the west of making illegal overtures to retired but under-contract Brett Favre — it was akin to tossing Napalm on a forest fire.
The charges — thrown out by the NFL last month — certainly added to the fervor among fans. If you believe Vikings coach Brad Childress, however, it won't have much of an impact on Monday night's showdown at Lambeau Field.
"I'll probably let you guys decide that," Childress said on what the tampering charges did to the rivalry. "It doesn't do anything from a standpoint of fundamental football. I don't know if I've coached here long enough. I'm not Bud Grant. The rivalry's a rivalry. You know, I don't think people live in a vacuum, however. It's a North Division rivalry. We're playing the champions of the North. Obviously, it means a little more because anytime you can beat a division opponent, you can get another game up in the NFC."
In legal terms, that's called evading the question. Pressed further, Childress said: "Last time I checked, I won't be out there between the white lines or anything like that. It's about the players that are on the football field playing the game."
One of those players, Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher, said the tampering charges would have no impact on the game.
"We worry about stuff on the field," he said. "All that other stuff, that's for the organizations to sort out. As far as players go, we just want to go win. They want to go win."
Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org Click here to subscribe to PackerReport.com