Strange Bedfellows: Packers All-Pro Defends Vikings Organization

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFLPA released “team report cards” this week, and the Minnesota Vikings led the pack.

That’s right. The Vikings took home the league’s top grade as voted on by current NFL players, some 1,300+ of them.

These were the criteria by which the Vikings fetched an A+.

  • Treatment of families
  • Good service/nutrition
  • Weight room
  • Strength coaches
  • Training room
  • Training staff
  • Locker room
  • Team travel

Strange Bedfellows: Packers All-Pro Defends Vikings Organization

Predictably, some NFL fans used the Vikings mighty grade as an opportunity to chide Minnesota’s Super Bowl-less-ness — because why let the Vikings be good at something, right?

One such human was Arrick Upton, a Green Bay Packers fan, who retweeted a graphic from Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari. The photo touted NFL teams by grade, with the Vikings situated at the top. Upton wrote, “The Vikings are gonna hang a banner for this ??‍♂️.”

Strange Bedfellows
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

But in a plot twist, Bakhtiaria defended the Vikings organization by replying to Upton, “Hey. Testament to them. I don’t think most people know how much all this data means to the players. Quality of life is priceless.”

Bakhtiari is a three-time Pro Bowler, three-time Second-Team All-Pro, and two-time First-Team All-Pro. He isn’t anonymous.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings high grade is especially noteworthy because new leadership took over the Vikings just one year ago. The previous regime was known for crankiness down the stretch of its tenure, so the atmosphere and culture must’ve truly revolutionized in one season — which is what general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell predicted about 13 months ago.

The NFLPA described the origins of the new report cards, “During the last two years, the board of representatives has discussed ways to improve the information available to free agents making decisions about their prospective clubs and decided to pursue the development of ‘club report cards’ that, while not a scientific survey, would report the quantitative and qualitative opinions of NFL players about their respective clubs.”

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (69) provides pass protection while covering Detroit Lions linebacker Romeo Okwara (95) during the second quarter Sunday, January 8, 2023 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers 20-16. © MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL / USA TODAY NETWORK.

“The club report card includes an overview, which is a summary of the players’ responses and opinions about the club workplace and specifically about how players perceived clubs’ commitment to workplace issues,” the NFLPA concluded about its new process.

The Packers were no slouch either, securing the sixth-best report card leaguewide, so the NFC North evidently does something right for culture and accommodations. Chicago ranked 12th, and Detroit placed 15th.

Minnesota scored exceptionally well via the treatment of players’ families and physical accommodations like facilities. Here’s the full scorecard posted by Bakhtiairi:

Image Courtesy of David Bakhtiari on Twitter

If anyone tells you that such “report card grades” are meaningless or merely a method for Vikings fans to pound chests, they’re apparently off base — so much so that a member of the Vikings primary rival had to clap back.

The Washington Commanders were given an F-.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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