When it comes to the Vikings and Packers, not many know the Border Battle better than Hall-of-Fame center Larry McCarren, who spent 12 seasons on Green Bay's offensive line and now serves as a radio analyst for Packers Chalk Talk.
Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall interviewed McCarren on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and the former Packer recalled memories of playing against Minnesota.
"When I just started out, the Vikings had that tremendous defensive line," McCarren said. "Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen. The first time playing in the Met and looking over at that [Vikings] bench, and seeing the [steam] come out of those helmets – it was one of those special moments that you think, 'This is the NFL. This is big-time stuff.'
"Playing against the Vikings meant something," he added.
McCarren went to the Pro Bowl in 1982 and 1983 and helped the Packers to the 1982 postseason following the shortened strike season. He played 162 games for Green Bay, starting 154 of them.
During McCarren's tenure with the Packers, the Vikings were NFC North Champions seven times. Minnesota assumed the title again in 2015, dethroning Green Bay and ending its four-season streak. The Vikings have claimed 19 Western Conference/division titles since their inaugural 1961 season, and the Packers have totaled 17 in that time.
McCarren acknowledged that, while biased toward the Packers, Minnesota's success under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is undeniable.
"Oddly enough, both teams won on the road – that was kind of crazy," McCarren said of the Vikings-Packers 2015 matchups. "But I'll tell you the truth, the Vikings are headed in the right direction, big-time. What they did this year came at no surprise. I think Mike Zimmer has the arrow pointed up."
ESPN's Rob Demovsky recently wrote that he expects the NFC North division to be a race between Green Bay and Minnesota for the foreseeable future.
"I'll tell you what – it's a great rivalry," McCarren said, smiling. "When those two teams meet, it's real-deal football. It's fun to watch."