If the Vikings move to LA, who will the Packers New NFC North Rival be?

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Recently on this site, Kris Burke wrote: “Nordic Burial? Why the Minnesota Vikings in L.A. Would Be Bad For The Green Bay Packers” where he argues that the Vikings leaving for warmer climes is likely to hurt the Packers.  Just for the sake of argument, let’s explore if the Vikings did indeed move to LA.

In my November article “Packers Win Starts the Vikings Dominoes Falling…,” I mentioned that the “dominoes” were falling into place for the Vikings to potentially move out of Minnesota. While logical, at that point it was pure conjecture.  Today the possibility is much more real.

The Vikings have failed to secure a new stadium deal with the state of Minnesota, who is in financially dire straights with a predicted $5 billion deficit.  Add to that the overall state of the American economy, a deadlocked state legislature from partisan bickering and who just shot down the Vikings’ last stadium proposal, and it becomes apparent that there isn’t much other than the fans keeping the Vikings in Minnesota.  Perhaps the state of Minnesota and owner Zigi Wilf will come to some sort of compromise, but if the Vikings do indeed leave Minnesota for Los Angeles, their assumed destination, the NFL would have to go through some drastic reshuffling.

Would the NFC North still be the black and blue division without the Vikings? It wouldn’t make sense for the Vikings to remain in the NFC North at a considerable disadvantage to the rest of the NFC North.  While the Packers, Bear and Lions would only have to travel to the west coast once to play the Vikings, the Vikings would have to travel back  three times.  Everyone knows what a toll on the body a long flight takes and football players are no different, not to mention everyone likes to go home to their own bed.

More importantly, this also negatively effects the fans, while traveling from Green Bay to Minneapolis equates to a 1 hour flight, traveling to LA takes at least 7 hours and naturally is that much more expensive and that much more tedious.  Most likely the rivalries between the Vikings and the rest of the NFC North would be diminished, which would probably reduce the ratings and therefore profits of each game.

So if if it doesn’t make any sense for the Vikings to stay in the NFC North, who would replace them?  If the Vikings did move to the west coast, it then presumably makes sense that they would be moving to the NFC or AFC West, which then means its probably one of those teams would then become part of the NFC North.  Below are probably the three likeliest candidates based on distance from the three other NFC North teams.

Denver Broncos – 928 miles from Green Bay: Currently in the AFC West with Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego, the Broncos are located in a NFL no-mans land with no team being closer than 500 miles from them.  Mile High Stadium (aka Invesco Field at Mile High) would be a natural fit with the image of the NFC North, it’s an outdoor stadium featuring numerous atmospheric hurdles including its signature high altitude and bad weather conditions.  Also, a Denver-Green Bay rivalry could quickly develop based on the 1998 Super Bowl, where at John Elway lead Broncos defeated a Brett Favre lead Packers in the final year of the Holmgren era and is the only defeat the Green Bay Packers have experienced in a Super Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs – 501 miles from Green Bay: Also currently part of the AFC West with Oakland, San Diego and Denver, the Kansas City Chiefs are closer to the NFC North teams than they are to the AFC West teams, with the Chiefs being a mere 400 miles away from Chicago.  Arrowhead Stadium is an outdoor stadium that often features snow, wind and freezing temperatures late in the season – perfect for the NFC North.  Kansas City is also probably the strongest team of the three, with an identical record to the Packers and winning their division last year.  With Kansas City and Denver, a new Southern California rivalry might emerge between San Diego and LA.

St. Louis Rams – 420 miles from Green Bay: Currently part of the NFC West with the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis is one of the closest franchises to the Green Bay Packers that aren’t in the NFC North.  St Louis would make a logical choice since an LA market would result in the NFC West being strictly on the west coast.  A couple minor knocks on the Rams is that Edward Jones Dome is in fact a dome (not that I would mind seeing the Packers receivers running on the same field as the “greatest show on turf” and Aaron Rodgers getting to wear his favorite Nikes) and St. Louis does have one famous rivalry with the San Francisco 49ers, but that has waned recently as both teams have gone through long and tough stretches of poor play.

From a fan perspective, like Kris, I like how the divisions are currently setup, but from a purely economical standpoint (and the NFL is a business first), I think it makes a lot of sense for the Vikings to move at the moment.  If the Vikings do indeed move to LA, I think it would negatively effect the entire NFC North for the Vikings to stay in the division.  It would especially hurt the fans, who would have to spend a lot more of the time, effort and money in order to see divisional games, which are some of the most heated of the regular season.





Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.


  • Chad Toporski

    If the Chiefs moved to the NFC North, would it be the first time two Super Bowl opponents ended up in the same division?

    (And does the irony increase since they played in L.A. for SB I?)

  • CheesyD

    Perhaps the new NFL team from Toronto. The league wants a team there.

  • CWood21

    With their AFL histories, there is no way that the Broncos or Chiefs would be moved to the NFC.

    If the Vikings were to move to L.A., the only logical thing to do would be to put the Rams in the NFC North.

  • FireMMNow

    They would keep the Vikes in the North. The vikes would have to travel to the midwest 3 times a year, but if they play the AFC West or NFC West as non-conference games they will have a decided advantage over their brethren in the midwest. Likely cancelling any disadvantage they may have. Moving the Rams to the North would make some sense, but it makes more sense to leave the rivalries in place and the penalty for moving is the additional flight time, which would probably be close to a wash in the end anyway.

  • PackersRS


    Outside from the Packers, they’re the greatest source of joy I have in the NFL.

    I mean, just look at this: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/05/31/vikings-have-more-than-their-fair-share-of-worst-moments-since-1987/

    So many sweet, sweet times brought by the outstanding Vikings organization and their tradition to crumble in the worst possible moments.

    If they move, it’ll be a sad day for professional football.

  • Manitou

    When the NFC went to 4 divisions, the Dallas Cowboys were kept in the NFC East because of the Redskins, Eagles, Giants rivalry.

  • Adam Czech

    My thoughts:

    A) I’ve always considered the Bears to be the Packers rival. The Vikings are sort of an annoyance. Perhaps the word rival should be replaced with something else in the title.

    B) I’d be floored if the Vikings move to LA. I think the NFL would do everything it could to move the Jaguars or Bills before the Vikings. The league is not going to want to lose a team in a market like the Twin Cities with an established history and fanbase.

    C) I’m fairly confident a Vikings stadium deal will get done. These things tend to usually happen eventually. Right now the Vikings are the only party approaching the stadium issue with a sense of urgency. I’d give it a year or two before the legislature starts treating the issue with urgency, then something will get done.

    D) If the Vikings do relocate, I don’t care who replaces them as long as it’s not Tampa Bay. Playing in Tampa is a guaranteed loss for the Packers.

    • For those that don’t know, Adam lives in Minnesota, so he has a closeup view of the situation…

    • Adam Czech

      Apparently the Vikings and key legislators are still holding behind-closed-doors talks about getting a stadium deal done during a special legislative session in the coming weeks.

      We are facing a government shutdown here in Minnesota over a $5 billion deficit. Republican’s want to try and balance the budget without raising taxes. Democrats want a mix of tax increases on the rich and moderate program cuts.

      The republicans “no new taxes” pledge apparently does not apply to a Vikings stadium. Some of them are apparently willing to raise taxes to build it.

      If reports about the stadium talks still going on are true, I guess there is still a chance of getting a Vikings stadium deal done this year. My gut still tells me that this year is a longshot, though, and this will wait until 2012 after Vikings owner Zygi Wilf starts hinting about selling the team to LA-based owners.

  • Steve Cheez

    I say let them move, but they stay in the Norris and all divisional games have to be played here.

  • Even if the Vikings move, have to think now that Favre is supposedly gone for good (again) the rivalry to the Vikings would take a backseat to the Bears in light of last years NFC Championship game. I can say that there are a ton of pissed off Bears fans who are dying for a chance for a little payback this season against the Packers. Which of course will not happen.

  • Mojo

    The Queens will get their new stadium at the eleventh hour after some long political posturing.

    If by chance they didn’t the Rams would be a suitable replacement and it wouldn’t be long before we hated them too.

  • Ron LC

    An idea – build a domeless stadium – enclose the seating with plexiglass and put that stupid horn in with the fans. No noise for the opposing team, play in the elements and force the purple fans to live in a pile of their own making.

    I’d contrbute to that.

  • Mike

    Vikings owners should open the sale of stock shares to their fans. I believe, like with Green Bay, the fans would keep the team that they have loved for so long. Without taxing the general public (who are not all Vikings fans or football fans) to build a stadium, with the proper effort (yes, it would be a huge undertaking) the fans could own the team and the stadium. That would allow the Vikes to stay forever, right where they belong. Born in Wisconsin, I am a forever Packer fan, but I also have a great love for the “black and blue” NFC North. It is entrenched in the foundations of NFL Traditions.

    Now, on another serious note, it would be a total dirty shame if the NFL owners and the players can not sit down and figure out a fair way to split a revenue which exceeds 11 Billion Dollars. I am someone whose family is not by any means wealthy, yet lives comfortably with a reasonable combined household income. I am thoroughly disgusted by people who make the kind of money they do, yet can;t come to a reasonable compromise.

    Then we’ve got Jerry Jones who spent a billion dollars on his palatial stadium/monument to himself. He not only got nowhere close to his dream of a Cowboy Super Bowl there, but is facing a strong possibility of not even having his regular season games there this coming year.

  • jono

    St. Louis’s natural rivals are Chicago (eg Cardinals/Cubs). The Rams/Bears rivalry would develop fast and they’d be a good addition to the NFC North.