This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress
I think at least and I bet a lot of Vikings and Bears fan agree with this, but I believe this is one of the most under appreciated rivalries in the NFL. It is not the Bears-Packers rivalry, or the Vikings-Packers rivalry, but it is at least as good the Packers-Lions rivalry, which use to be a very good rivalry at least. I don’t know if there are two better teams that better represent the old NFC Central, or as ESPN’s Chris Berman called it the NFC Norris Division, play better than the Vikings and Bears. Both teams, are traditionally tough and physical on defense and come right at you on offense. And both teams love to play in cold weather and won a lot of big games in cold weather.
The 1985 Vikings, were a lot different from the traditional Vikings teams that we saw in the 1960s and 70s and the late 1980s. They no longer had the great defense or running game that they could count on. They were a pass first and almost pass all the time team. And the running game they got was from their passing game. And defenses having to respect their passing game a lot. Tommy Kramer, was a very good if not a Pro Bowl quarterback, but not the type of quarterback that could put his team on his back and lead them to championships on his own. He needed a good running game and defense to play their part as well. And the Vikings from 1983-86, missed the NFC Playoffs four straight seasons. Which never happened again until the 2000s. The Vikings missing the playoffs at least four straight seasons. And a big part of that was they no longer had that great defense and running game to complement their powerful passing game.
Teams like the 85 Vikings, played into the Bears 46 Defense perfectly. The Bears were always going after the quarterback with their defensive line and blitzes. And probably blitzed 90% of the time. And if they didn’t have a running game to have to worry about and giving up a big running play on a blitz, it meant they could blitz all the time and attack the quarterback every single play. Remember, the 85 Bears were 18-1 including playoffs and Super Bowl. The only team that beat them in 85 were the Dan Marino Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins had Dan Marino, but they also had a very good offensive line, that could pick up their own man and pick up blitzers on the same play. And they also had 4-5 really good and quick receivers. And could spread the Bears out on defense. And had enough of a running game to keep defenses honest. The Vikings, weren’t that good of a football team.