There is a documentary that is part of the ESPN "30-for-30" series about Jimmy the Greek that charts his rise to fame and fall from grace. For those who remember the Greek on the "NFL Today" program, they remember his big board and the check marks he gave to determine a winner.
When the news broke the Brett Favre may not be back, everyone seemed to hook up to the Packers bandwagon, but is that realistic? While Favre is critical to the Vikings' success, if you compare the teams on a position-by-position basis, it's hard to say that Green Bay is better than Minnesota. Not convinced? Make your own check marks.
Quarterbacks — Given what Favre did last year, it's hard to go against him. But given his ability, Aaron Rodgers has met the measure of Favre, making it tough to give an edge to either. Advantage: Even.
Running Backs — Adrian Peterson or Ryan Grant? Be serious. Advantage: Vikings.
Wide Receivers — The Vikings have three deep in young talent – Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian. The Packers have solid starters in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, but don't have a stud at the No. 3 spot. Advantage: Vikings.
Tight Ends — Visanthe Shiancoe became a big-time TD scorer and Jim Kleinsasser is top-end blocker. However, Jermichael Finley is a budding star and Donald Lee is a solid dual-threat as a blocker and receiver, which gives Green Bay an edge. Advantage: Packers.
Offensive Line — The Vikings have young talent along the right side and Pro Bowl talents in Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson on the left side. The Packers have a pair of old, banged up offensive tackles in Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher and were forced to shuffle the entire line when one injury hit last season. This is a critical matchup and it's hard to make a case for Green Bay. Advantage: Vikings.
Defensive Line — You could put the best Packers defensive linemen of the last half dozen years and mix and match them and they still wouldn't be able to hang with the Williams Wall and Jared Allen. Not even close. Advantage: Vikings.
Linebackers — The Vikings have a solid starting trio, but the Packers have invested heavily in the position and it shows, with Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews all capable of being Pro Bowl talents. Advantage: Packers.
Cornerbacks — The Vikings have injury questions at the position, but it wouldn't really matter. Charles Woodson is the defending defensive MVP and Al Harris isn't far behind. This is a strength of the Packers defense. They're aging, but still near the top of their game. Advantage: Packers.
Safeties — Neither team has great safety play and both could probably still use Darren Sharper to make plays. Advantage: Even.
Special Teams — Ryan Longwell has the edge on Mason Crosby, who struggled badly at times last year. The punting game likely is a slight edge to the Packers, but Percy Harvin's dynamic return ability tips the scale. Advantage: Vikings.
When you add them all up, you wind up with five check marks on the side of the Vikings, three for the Packers and three even. While not a mandate, if the Greek was doing the oddsmaking, he'd make the Vikings a 3:2 favorite to repeat as division champ – and that's not a hunch play. The numbers would back him up.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vikings vs. Packers, 2010: Who has the edge?
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