Vikings Become Clear Favorites in Rodgers-Less NFC North
Green Bay started mandatory minicamp today and Aaron Rodgers is nowhere to be found. Even ESPN Packers’ beat reporter, Rob Demovsky, who pushed back hard on the Aaron vs front office consternation rumors when they were first reported by Paul Allen at KFAN radio in Minneapolis, has lost hope. Rob isn’t the only plugged-in dude that thinks Aaron Rodgers is as good as gone. Unless future HOF QB turns a complete 180 in the next 50 days, their front office will have no choice but to move him… which is great news for the Minnesota Vikings and the rest of the NFC North.
"I think that it's a less than 5% chance that it's Aaron Rodgers."— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) May 4, 2021
-Rob Demovsky(@RobDemovsky) on who he thinks will be the #Packers QB Week 1 of the 2021 NFL Season
For Rob's full appearance: https://t.co/rzq0cqFUan pic.twitter.com/yzTjgAwcN7
Sure, we have our own holdout problems to worry about. Danielle Hunter is still a no-show at TCO Performance Center for offseason voluntary workouts and it’s very possible he’s absent next week when they become mandatory. BUT, what’s happening in Green Bay between the Packers and Aaron Rodgers makes the Vikings’ dysfunction look like two friends playing nicely in the same sandbox.
Rodgers leaving the NFC North would have HUGE ramifications for the rest of the division and the Vikings would be the biggest benefactors. Both the Lions and Bears are in full rebuild mode and have new quarterbacks to break in. Could Jared Goff resurrect his career in silver and blue? Maybe… but history says probably not. Will Justin Fields become the next great NFC North QB? Who knows… but nobody’s staking their reputation on Detroit or Chicago in 2021.
Skill Position Comparisons
We all know about the improvements the Vikings hope they’ve made on the offensive line and we’ll talk about defense momentarily. But Minnesota holds a clear advantage when it comes passing offense. Sure, Dalvin Cook gives them an advantage in the backfield too but the North is very strong, as a whole, at the running back position.
I can promise you that defenses across the NFC North see Kirk Cousins + Jefferson/Thielen + Irv Smith as, far and away, the most dangerous air attack in the division. If Davante Adams were to follow in Rodgers’ footsteps and demand out of Green Bay, which he’s already threatened, most fair-weather football fans wouldn’t be able to name an NFC North wide receiver who’s not Adam Thielen or Justin Jefferson.
|QB||K. Cousins||J. Love||J. Fields (R)||J. Goff|
|RB||D. Cook||A. Jones||D. Montgomery||D. Swift|
Improved Vikings Secondary vs NFC North WR’s
Of course, the Minnesota Vikings’ biggest concerns this offseason weren’t on the offensive side of the football, certainly not the skill positions like WR, QB or RB. Most of the improvements heading into 2021 are on defense, and for good reason. Mike Zimmer’s 2020 crew was abysmal and it cost the Vikings a playoff spot.
I still believe Rick Spielman will get Danielle Hunter a new contract eventually, meaning he, Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson should improve the defensive line exponentially starting in week 1.
Anthony Barr and Erik Kendricks also return from injuries, along with Harrison Smith, to complete a turned over and veteran-laced defensive secondary. I wrote about how improved the Minnesota cornerback group should be in 2021 and, on S.S. Minnesota, we talked about the lack of WR talent that new CB group will face in the NFC North, should Rodgers leave and Adams leave.
Patrick Peterson & Co should be licking their chops.
Rodgers-less NFC North is Vikings’ for the taking
Without Rodgers, the Packers would be a decent-looking ship without a captain to drive it. The Bears still have Khalil Mack and what looks like a very good defense… but no offense to go with it and a rookie QB to break in. In Detroit, they still have the Lions as their football team and until that changes, I’m not concerned.
If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t come back to the NFC North then the Minnesota Vikings should Griddy to an easy division championship in 2021.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan