Running back DuJuan Harris signed with the Minneosta Vikings earlier this week after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Packers. Harris follows former Packers tight end Brandon Bostick, who inked with Minnesota earlier this month. Last season, the Vikings added wide receiver Charles Johnson, who was actually two years removed from the Packers, as they lost Johnson mid-way through the 2013 season to the Cleveland Browns. In 2013, who could forget all of the drama when Greg Jennings defected to the world of purple. Before him, to name a few: Brett Favre, Darren Sharper, Robert Ferguson, and Ryan Longwell.
The Vikings are at it again. It seems year after year, they sign at least one former Green Bay Packers player in hopes that they can help Minnesota keep up with its division rival to the east. We see the same thing in other NFL divisions, so I don’t want to make it sound like this is a complete anomaly, but as Packers fans, we see the Vikings as the top team that takes in Packers players who have been cast away or not re-signed.
As I thought through writing this, I tried to name all of the players that have moved from Green Bay to Minnesota and in the process, I could already read the comments that said “it must be the offseason if we’re talking about this kind of stuff” or “is this all that you guys could come up with?”. The answer, at least in my case, is a profound “yes”. I find it to be more and more entertaining that the many regimes that have come and gone in Minnesota still almost seem to rely on a guy or two becoming available off of Green Bay’s roster every season. At this rate, the Packers front office should be getting paychecks from both their own payroll as well as Minnesota’s.
When you look at the number of impact players that have switched sides, the list is actually much smaller and it seems that there is more of a perception that the Vikings have an affection for former Packers. It’s not like they’re sitting there drooling for guys to hit the waiver wire or free agency. And when you see an opponent twice a year, you naturally see more of the opposing players and what they can do.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and if history is any indicator, we’ll get to enjoy watching these latest ex-Packers catch a glimpse of what life is like when winning is far from guaranteed. The Vikings are seemingly about to deal running back Adrian Peterson. The signing of Harris should hardly signal Minnesota’s best option to replace Peterson. The two don’t even belong in the same atmosphere. But with a young and developing quarterback and a few big pieces of the offense potentially on the move, the Vikings are likely to be looking up at the Packers come this upcoming season’s end. Barring injury, that is.
The other question to ask is when will Minnesota start realizing that if the Packers are letting these players go, there’s a good reason for it and that they shouldn’t be surprised when the productivity isn’t what they hoped for? Jennings signed a five-year deal in 2013 and was released after two. Now, the deal was written so it was an easy out for the Vikings if they chose to go in another direction after two years. But Jennings would seem to have some life left in him so something went awry. Jennings must know it too, as he has taken to most every media outlet he can to let it be known that he is open to a return to the Packers.
Let’s hear what everyone else has to say about Minnesota’s continued plucking of former Packers below. I’m sure I missed a few others and who can come up with the most obscure?——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: