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Vikings-Packers rivalry spreads to TV time in Twin Ports

Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe runs after catching a ball against the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. (2010 file / News Tribune)

KQDS Fox 21-TV News Director Jason Vincent says he braces himself every Monday morning after the Green Bay Packers get bumped in favor of the Minnesota Vikings on his station. He knows he's going to get honked off calls from northern Wisconsin. But since his station is in Duluth, they're in the Minnesota TV market. So he says they're required by the NFL to put the purple and gold on over the green and gold.

"The decision is out of our hands. It has absolutely nothing to do with us. If it was our game, we'd love to do both and make everyone happy but we know that's just not going to happen."

But NFL Director of Corporate Communications Dan Masonson says KQDS-TV does have a choice. He says they requested to broadcast Vikings games, but could ask for Packers games instead.

A big crowd waited to watch the game last Sunday at the Neighborly Bar in Ashland. Owner "Crunch" Ronning says he lost half his crowd when the Vikes hit the screen.

"We're in Wisconsin and the Super Bowl champs aren't on TV? That's ridiculous."

Packer fan Heidi Van Dunk of Bayfield says it's more than a game.

"Maybe folks who aren't fans might think it's rather silly in a time when there's a lot of important life events going on all around us. But when it's what you love and it's part of your history, for some people I know, it defines a lot of who they are. It means everything to them to be able to sit down and watch the game."

Meanwhile, "Crunch" Ronning says they turned off the Vikings game.

"They're not fun to watch even if they're winning. They're not fun to watch ever. You know what the saying goes? You know why North and South Dakota don't have a professional football team? 'Cause Minnesota would want one too."

The next time the two teams schedule conflict is still several weeks away. Van Dunk says they'll be able to root for Curly Lambeau's club until that next dark Sunday.