This should be a grand weekend in border rivalry history, with both the Badgers vs. Gophers and Vikings vs. Packers filling the two-day schedule.
For a refreshing change of pace, the Gophers and Badgers are holding up their end of the bargain (note: this has primarily been the Gophers' fault in past years) as both teams enter Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game at TCF Bank Stadium with 8-2 records.
But the Vikings' game at Daunte's House on Sunday? Well, that's another story. Both teams are stumbling badly because of their QB situations. The Packers are on their third, Scott Tolzien. You might say the Vikings are on their fourth, starting with Christian Ponder, then Matt Cassel, then Josh Freeman and now (still) back to Ponder.
It got us thinking: Will this be the worst QB matchup in the storied history of the Vikings/Packers rivalry?
Let's start with Ponder vs. Tolzien. They are both third-year QBs. Ponder was drafted in the first round. Tolzien was undrafted. And we honestly couldn't tell you which one we'd rather have right now. That is not hyperbole.
Between them, they have 7 TD passes and 14 INTs this season. In the modern NFL, that is just abysmal.
But are they the worst matchup -- the worst duo to start at QB in this series?
Well, the Packers have either had Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre as starting QBs for 20-plus years of matchups before this, so that takes us at least into the early 1990s. The Vikings, starting there and moving backwards, had Rich Gannon, Wade Wilson and Tommy Kramer going back to the late 1970s. Even in the Vikings' leaner years in there (Steve Dils), the Packers countered with the somewhat respectable Lynn Dickey. Dils vs. Dickey is better than Tolzien vs. Ponder.
We found a game from 1977 -- Bob Lee vs. David Whitehurst, a 13-6 Vikings win -- that is at least the equal of Sunday's matchup.
And then we traveled all the way back to 1971 for a matchup that was worse than Ponder/Tolzien: Gary Cuozzo vs. Scott Hunter. The teams combined to COMPLETE 11 passes in the game. The final score? 3-0 Vikings on a fourth-quarter field goal.
That was worse than the matchup Sunday. But it took four decades to find it.