The Vikings are 27-19-1 in season openers. There's only one unbeaten coach in team history when it comes to openers and that's Brad Childress. His Purple won at Washington in 2006 and in the Metrodome against Atlanta last season.

Norm Van Brocklin (3-2-1), Bud Grant (12-6) and Dennis Green (6-4) had winning records. Jerry Burns (2-4) and one-and-done Les Steckel (0-1) had losing records. Mike Tice went 2-2 in his openers.

The most dramatic opener in Vikings history was the first, when Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to lead a 37-13 upset of the Chicago Bears. The disclaimer in this was that Minnesota's freshly minted NFL fans did not see it coming.

Two weeks earlier, the Vikings had lost 30-7 to the Bears in an exhibition game in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This was a time when the teams had small rosters, played five exhibitions and the regulars saw extensive duty in most of them.

Really, there's one opener in franchise history that surpasses in pregame anticipation the Vikings' upcoming journey to Green Bay for this Monday nighter.

This is a fascinating matchup for two reasons:

• Among NFC teams, only the Dallas Cowboys have the overall talent to compare with the Vikings and the Packers.

• Amid all of this solid personnel, the Vikings and the Packers bring equally giant question marks at quarterback.

Tarvaris Jackson started 12 games in 2007 for the Vikings and displayed his flaws more often than his talent. Aaron Rodgers, with only brief game experience, will be facing both the ill-tempered Vikings' front four and an impatient home crowd that goes in wanting Brett Favre still to be the quarterback.

This will be the fourth time the Packers and the Vikings have played an opener, with all four in Lambeau Field.

The Packers were a power in 1962 and the Vikings a second-year franchise. Packers 34-7. The Vikings were a power and the Packers a mediocrity in 1974. Vikings 32-17.

The third opener came in 1992. New Vikings coach Dennis Green was able to get a 23-20 victory in overtime. The difference from then to now is no one was calling either the Vikings or the Packers Super Bowl contenders before that game.

This time, there are legitimate hopes for both, if Jackson and Rodgers are functional at quarterback.

We have been more worked up -- per capita, anyway -- for only one previous opener. The date was Sept. 21, 1970, the site was Met Stadium, and the opponents were the Kansas City Chiefs.

Minnesota's motive was revenge. The 1969 Vikings outscored the opposition 379-133. The defense was impenetrable, the offense was explosive with Joe Kapp and this state's certainty of victory in the Super Bowl was close to 100 percent.

Final: Chiefs 23, Vikings 7.

The humiliation increased a few weeks later when NFL Films released its Super Bowl highlights and there was Chiefs coach Hank Stram -- wired for sound and cackling on the sideline.

He went with the then-popular "Chinese fire drill" to describe the reaction of the Vikings defense. His analysis was that this could be expected when his "Offense of the '70s" faced the Vikings' "Defense of the '60s."

Eight months later, Minnesota's feeling the wrong team had won that Super Bowl remained strong -- both with the fans and with media.

Merrill Swanson's advance story in the Minneapolis Tribune carried the headline: "Vikes, Chiefs to See If Super Bowl Was Fluke."

The story included this passage: "The Chiefs need to prove today that their Super Bowl victory over the Vikings was no fluke; the Vikings would like to show it was an accident."

Grant showed the Stram video to his players Sunday morning. The Vikings followed with a dominating 27-10 victory. And then Grant let out his animosity toward Stram:

"They've been shoving it down our throats for eight months. ... Today, we proved that the defense of the 1960s can beat the offense of the 1970s."

The Vikings had another revenge opener in September 1999 against Atlanta, the Purple's conqueror as a big underdog in the NFC title game. The Vikings won 17-14 in an underwhelming display of football.

No doubt about it: When it comes to Minnesota being worked up for the opener, this Monday arrives at a solid No. 2 -- behind only the long wait before our guy Bud shut up Hairpiece Hank.

Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. •