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Photo - Hannah Foslien (Getty Images)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - The half-century rivalry between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers is one of the most storied in the league (even if it's not the Packers biggest rivalry. I can hear you already Carl Gerbschmidt!). Since the Vikings entered the league in 1961, this border battle has played its course throughout the everyday lives of Minnesotans and Wisconsinites alike. Families have been divided; offices have been witness to endless bantering between coworkers all because claims have been staked.
With 49 wins, 55 losses and 1 tie over the series' span, on field performances have only fueled the rivalry. With players like Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell and most notably Brett Favre jumping the border from Green Bay to Minnesota, Vikings fans have been afforded a unique perspective into this rivalry. The most recent transplant from Green Bay, Greg Jennings signed with the Vikings this past offseason after spending the first seven years of his career playing for the Packers.
"It's definitely going to be different [this year]," Jennings told the media Wednesday afternoon. "I've got a lot of familiar faces [over there] that I would typically be suiting up with, preparing with, but that's not the case anymore."
Jennings has played in 14 of the rivalry's 106 all-time matchups and has been on the winner's sideline 10 times. Over that span, Jennings caught 65 passes for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Packers including a banner night on November 21st, 2010 as Greg reeled in 7 passes for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Pack rolled the Vikings 31-3.
Now a receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, Greg's feelings towards the rivalry have not changed.
"Obviously it's a great rivalry," Jennings said. "Their fans hate us, our fans hate them. The same goes with the players. It's a little different for me because I don't really hate any of those guys over there."
As he met the media on Wednesday, Coach Frazier admitted that he and defensive coordinator Alan Williams would surely be tapping on Greg's knowledge of the Packers offense. When asked about the situation, Greg said that he is willing to help, but that can only go so far.
"I'm not one that tells plays," Jennings said Wednesday. "It doesn't matter. They have an outstanding head coach, a very very smart play caller. So it doesn't matter what I tell the defense."
While the on the field play typically fuels this rivalry, an interesting element of off the field jaw smacking entered into the feud this offseason.
Shortly after being acquired by the Minnesota Vikings, Jennings began to make comments about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers organization that fueled the fire and opened the door for the rivalry to be taken to another level. As comments about being "brainwashed" dominated the off-season chatter, Jennings apparent disdain for the Packers ran wild. After tempering the fervor for a few months, Jennings looks back at that experience as a learning opportunity.
"At this point it's behind me," Jennings said of the apparent feud with Rodgers and the city of Green Bay. "There are things that take place in life that you wish didn't happen but you grow from them."
Today, Jennings made very clear his appreciation and respect for the city, the fans and the organization in Green Bay.
"It's a phenomenal organization," Greg said about the Packers. "I had to make my departure. There were some things said that, man, if I could say it over again I would have to reword it so that it could be conveyed a little differently but they were said...I can't so I have to live life with the cards that I dealt myself and they're the cards that are sometime dealt not of your own choice."
With Jennings current team, the Vikings, sitting at 1-5 on the season and three games behind the Packers for the division lead, his decision to move from Green Bay to Minneapolis has not been questioned.
"It's not just about football," Jennings explained. "I didn't really grasp that concept until I got over here. My relationship with God increased a lot more and I really realized it's so much greater than football."
As Greg begins preparations to face his former team for the first time, his focus remains on football. Despite the records, despite the struggles, rivalry games are always approached a little differently. Even when the sidelines change, that idea and that focus does not.
"Anytime you enter into a division game, all statistics, all records are thrown out the window," Jennings said. "It's a familiar opponent so there's nothing that we can do that's going to be different, there's nothing that they can do that we haven't seen. It's all about executing. Right now they're executing very well and we have to execute better."
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN