Minnesota Connections

Today, November 22, 2015, the Packers meet the Vikings in Minnesota with first place in the Central Division at stake. This game also will mark the third time the Packers have met the Vikings on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers 19-7 on October 5, 1969 when Metropolitan Stadium was being used for a Twins playoff game. Last year, the teams met on November 23rd, and the Packers prevailed 24-21. This year will mark the final time they meet on campus because the Vikings move into their new dome in 2016.

Before the Vikings came into the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1961, the Packers relied heavily on talent from the University of Minnesota. 44 Minnesota Gophers have played for the Packers, and 28 of them played for Green Bay under Curly Lambeau. Lambeau liked the local university so much that he made a Gopher his number one draft choice four of five years from 1939-43 with Larry Buhler, Hal Van Every, Urban Odson and Dick WIldung being the picks. The only year he skipped, 1941, he grabbed a Gopher in round two with Bob Paffrath, who never played with Green Bay. Wildung was the only one to have a sterling Packer career, though. Since then, Green Bay has selected a Minnesota player in the first round three times: 1950 Clayton Tonnemaker, 1966 Gale Gillingham and 1990 Darrell Thompson. While the first two were All-Pros, Thompson was a bust. The last Minnesota player to don Green and Gold was Tony Carter in 2002.

When the Vikings came into the league in 1961, they selected three Packers in the expansion draft: halfback Paul Winslow, defensive tackle Ken Beck and defensive back Dick Pesonen. Pesonen, who hailed from the University of Minnesota at Duluth was the only one to make the initial Vikings squad. The other two players never again appeared in the NFL, although Beck did play in Canada.

1960tdpesonen3.jpg  1960tpwinslow

1960tkbeck4  1961tkbeck

Custom cards of the expansion draft players.

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