EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings left guard Alex Boone knows a thing or two about rivalry games.
Boone, a free agent signee this offseason, spent the last five seasons in San Francisco, right in the thick of the 49ers-Seahawks clashes in the NFC West.
From 2011-2014, the teams combined to go 87-40-1 in the regular season, with a combined 11-5 postseason record during that span. The 49ers and Seahawks represented the NFC in three consecutive Super Bowls and have a known disdain for the other franchise.
Yet as he prepares for his first rivalry game against the Packers, a prime time game on NBC's Sunday Night Football, Boone believes this NFC North showdown could be unlike anything he's seen.
"That was always a big one," Boone said of the NFC West battles. "I can see this (rivalry) probably beating it.
"This is a smash-mouth division and two smash-mouth teams," he added. "It's going to be exciting."
Boone is one of nine Vikings who are preparing for their first game against Green Bay while wearing Purple.
Know the Green Bay Packers key contributors on offense, defense and special teams heading into the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Besides Boone, the group includes left tackle Andre Smith and linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, two more free agent additions, plus quarterback Sam Bradford, who was acquired in a trade earlier this month.
Five rookies — wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, cornerback Mackensie Alexander, linebacker Kentrell Brothers, tight end David Morgan and safety Jayron Kearse — are new to the rivalry.
Kearse said the most heated competition he's been involved with was when Clemson University, his alma mater, went up against the University of South Carolina.
The rookie safety noted that not much needed to be said around the locker room to understand the importance of games against Green Bay.
"Being a huge football fan growing up and watching it in high school and college, you know that when the Minnesota Vikings go up against the Green Bay Packers that it's always going to be a big game," Kearse said. "Things are going to be amped up a lot and definitely a different atmosphere than last week against Tennessee.
"It's something I already knew coming into it," he added.
Minnesota and Green Bay have combined to win seven of the past eight NFC North titles.
Bradford, who has been with the Vikings for almost two weeks, said the twice-annual matchups were noteworthy even from afar.
"I think everyone knows that it's a pretty big rivalry," Bradford said. "When you're somewhere else you're obviously focused on the task at hand and what you've got going that week, but I think everyone around the league knows it's a big rivalry."
"You know that, with a rivalry game, we're going to get their best shot," he later added.
Plenty of players will be will be locked in for Sunday's tilt. You can bet Boone, a veteran of intense games, will be one of them.
"Motivated and excited, baby," Boone said. "(I'm) ready to roll."