The year was 2009. My college roommate and I were diehard Minnesota Vikings fans. As we got ready for the start of that season, we were ready to welcome Brett Favre in what would be a year straight out of the Twilight Zone for the Vikings.
Shortly after Favre threw the laser that nearly impaled Greg Lewis, my roommate got a package from NFL Shop. He placed it on the table, opened it up, and gave me the biggest (crap)-eating grin I have ever seen. He pulled out the contents and it was a Vikings jersey, but it said "A. Rodgers" on the back.
At the time, I believed this was the stupidest thing I had ever seen. Aaron Rodgers was about to embark on a Hall of Fame career with the Packers and there's no way that history would repeat itself in this fashion. However, after the events of the NFL Draft, there might be a Lloyd Christmas chance that he could actually end up a Viking.
Let's look at what happened Thursday night
The Green Bay Packers held the 30th pick in the first round and like many teams, the rumors were flying about who exactly they would select. With Rodgers needing weapons, there was a good chance that Rodgers was going to get another wide receiver or even an offensive tackle. Maybe they would even go defense. Something to help a win-now squad.
Instead, the Packers didn't just select Jordan Love as his successor. They traded up to select Love. Such a move doesn't exactly scream "We're here for you."
Perhaps General Manager Brian Gutenkunst wanted to put his own stamp on his team in the same way that Ted Thompson did in 2005, snatching a sliding Rodgers with the 24th pick to succeed Favre. But Thompson didn't trade up to select Rodgers. He was just available with that pick.
We all know how things turned out from there. Favre got angry when the Packers didn't accept his back-and-forth retirement games for the umpteenth year in a row. Although he was traded to the New York Jets first, Favre's intent was to stick it to the Packers, which eventually landed him in Minnesota.
It's easy to see a similar path play out because of this trade. You may not think Rodgers would hold this level of a grudge, but he has seen this exact scenario play out when he came into the league. Favre was never a mentor toward Rodgers because he knew he was taking his job, so why would Rodgers suddenly become buddies with his newly minted successor?
We should also take into consideration that Rodgers is the king of holding grudges. The guy reportedly didn't even call his parents when their house was surrounded in flames a couple of years ago. It seems like if the Packers not only drafted their future QB but (again) traded up to do so, it might create a type of scorn we've never seen.
Then there's the current Vikings quarterback situation. Kirk Cousins is locked in for the next three years in an offense that is suited to his strengths. The Vikings want to run the ball and play defense and Cousins is going to play the role of a John Elway riding Terrell Davis' (in Minnesota's case, Dalvin Cook's) efforts in the backfield.
But what if it goes wrong?
The Vikings still have some holes on this team, but they're still good enough to not have the woeful record needed to land Clemson's Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State's Justin Fields in next year's draft. With their rock bottom point probably around 7-9, the Vikings may not be able to land a successor immediately if Cousins has a poor season.
An interesting scenario is two years down the road, when Rodgers will be 39 entering the 2022 season and Love will be midway through his rookie deal. General managers love taking advantage of rookie contracts, so there might be a scenario where Gutenkunst wants to move on, but Rodgers isn't ready to retire.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers may have also had enough of Jimmy Garoppolo at this time and might be ready to cash in on trade rumors where they were connected to Cousins. A trade would save the Vikings $35 million in cap room, per Spotrac, and with a possible desire to play for Kyle Shanahan (who coaxed Cousins' best seasons in Washington), a renegotiation of his $44 million cap number for 2022 could take place.
At this point, the Packers wouldn't be stupid and probably trade Rodgers out of the NFC in the same fashion they ditched Favre. But players are more willing to take control of their situations than they were in 2009.
If Stefon Diggs could force his way out of Minnesota with emojis and Antonio Brown can get out of Oakland by burning his feet in a cryogenic chamber, what's to stop Rodgers from raising hell until he found his way to Minnesota?
This scenario is an extreme pipe dream, but not one that sounds as far fetched as you may think. For a franchise that has based itself on being where quarterbacks go to die, adding Rodgers to the list would just follow in the long tradition of seeing Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Favre and Donovan McNabb put on some purple to show they still have it.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how the situation on the east side of the Mississippi River pans out.