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Green Bay Packers take cheap shots at Minnesota Vikings during Tailgate Tour

May 15, 2011
By MATT WELLENS - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

Gilbert Brown questioning the manhood of the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday in Ashland, Wis., - "grown men don't wear purple," according to the Grave Digger - was not necessary.

Mark Murphy's shot at the Vikings - the Packers' president and CEO followed Brown's crack with, "They have a hole in their roof" - was unwarranted as well, though hilarious.

The fact is, the Green Bay Packers landed the biggest sucker punch they could to their rival's ego on Tuesday evening in Marquette.

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While the Packers were partying with 5,200 of their closest friends in the Upper Peninsula, the Vikings' ownership was begging and pleading with the state of Minnesota to get them a new home.

Ever since the Metrodome roof collapsed during a snow storm in December - leaving the Vikings homeless for the final weeks of the regular season - Minnesota's NFL franchise has found a new sense of urgency in finding a new home.

The state of Minnesota, however, has not developed the same motivation to act, especially Rep. Mindy Greiling of Roseville.

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On Tuesday at the Landmark Inn in Marquette, Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn ate some food, offensive guard Josh Sitton shook hands with Northern Michigan University President Les Wong and the rest of the Packers’ organization continued to celebrate the Super Bowl XLV championship on the sixth annual Tailgate Tour. Meanwhile, back in Minnesota on Tuesday, the Vikings were busy begging the state to help fund a new stadium in the Twin Cities suburbs, which the Minnesota state legislature does not currently support. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)

"They're smoking up the wrong pipe," Greiling told the Associated Press this week. "The public is not for this if you poll them, and if they are, they want it to be as cheap as possible."

She wasn't the only legislator increasing the Vikings' odds of playing second fiddle to Los Angeles' other professional football team - the University of Southern California.

Sen. Julie Rosen, the main sponsor of the bill in the state senate, told the AP there was no chance she could get her colleagues to commit to the $400 million the Vikings were seeking from taxpayers - a third of the stadium's estimated $1.1 billion price tag.

There was some reason for optimism in the purple and gold camp Tuesday as Ramsey County, a suburb of the Twin Cities, gave the Vikes the OK to build on site of a former Army ammunition plant in hopes of turning the community's catch phrase from "Home of the nation's largest Superfund site!" to "Home of the Minnesota Vikings!"

(A Superfund site, by the way, is a toxic waste dump that the government is working on cleaning up. Only the best for the Vikings.)

That ounce of hope gave the Vikings a reason to hold a party on the site that may or may not become their new home. In other words, the Vikings found an ad on Craigslist for a plot of land, and without getting approval for the sale or financing from the bank to build, they threw a house warming party anyways.

What do you expect from a franchise whose most memorable moments in recent history have been two choke jobs in the NFC Championship and a "Love Boat" scandal?

Thanks to a Vikings beat reporter's tweets that afternoon, I was able to follow along from the top floor of the Landmark Inn, standing next to Jim Taylor, as all of this went down in the Twin Cities.

It made me appreciate the kind of franchise the Green Bay Packers have. It's a franchise currently making improvements and expansions to Lambeau Field without taxpayer dollars.

It's an organization that brought every one of its employees to Super Bowl XLV.

It's a team that hops on a bus and brings three generations of champions, and four Vince Lombardi trophies, to meet fans in the U.P.

It's all the ultimate blow in the rivalry between the two NFL franchises.

One spent Tuesday partying on the site of a toxic waste dump.

The other partied in beautiful Marquette along the shores of Lake Superior.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is



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