Rodgers Goes Down Early; Vikings Kick Packers While They’re Down

I talked about the Vikings’ need for a great defensive performance along with some things falling their way, in order to take down the Packers today at US Bank Stadium. They got that break (no pun intended until I reread it) very early when Aaron Rodgers was hit CLEANLY (Packer fans are bitching everywhere) by Anthony Barr. Early reports are a broken collarbone for Rodgers, likely ending his season, or most of it.

After that, the defense took over. The offense wasn’t too shabby either but more on that later. Let’s focus on the defense first because Rodgers or no Rodgers, they were on point today. Eric Kendricks led the way with 11 total tackles but the entire defense played well and showed up individually throughout the game. Xavier Rhodes had an interception and kept Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams quiet all day.

Anthony Barr broke Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone which was his biggest play of the afternoon, but he was all over the place making plays before he left the game with his own injury problems (concussion). Those often have much worse long-term implications than Rodgers’ collarbone. So stop bitching Packer fans.

The Vikings had pressure on Hundley all day, facing a depleting Packers’ O-line and taking advantage. Griffin, Smith, Joseph, and Robison all participating in a total of 4 sacks while Smith, Rhodes, and Waynes all had interceptions. They also held the Packers to just 10 points on 227 yards of total offense. It was a rather dominant performance against a division rival in a big-spot game.

Now, the offense. They moved the ball much better than I had expected being they are missing their best 3 playmakers on offense in Bradford, Diggs, and Cook. Luckily for them, their 4th and 5th best playmakers, in Thielen and McKinnon, are damn good options as well. Jerick McKinnon seems like a new player compared to last year. He will get a nice contract at the end of this season if he continues at this pace. I doubt it will be with the Vikings though. McKinnon finished the game with 99 total yards from scrimmage and a TD both rushing and receiving.

Case Keenum was good again. He might be the best backup QB in the league and the Vikings are lucky to have him. He is proving that every game he starts. With all the uncertainty swirling around Teddy and Sammy, Case just continues to put his head down and do his job well. He will have a long future in this league and a lot of money to show for it, when it’s all said and done. He finished with 239 yards passing with 1 TD and 1 INT (more yards than the whole Packer offense).

You can’t say enough about Adam Thielen either. With Diggs out, the Vikings needed a big game from Thielen and that’s exactly what they got. The guy catches everything and has been reliable all season, and his entire career. Everyone the Vikings gave money to in the offseason just continue to produce. Thielen finished with 97 yards on 9 receptions. Treadwell also had his best game as a pro and showed some flashy hands. When Michael Floyd went out, Treadwell really shined.

The offensive line is so much better than it was last season. We aren’t talking about them after every single game. Honestly, I almost forgot to put them in here. That’s a good thing. We don’t want to be talking about the O-line much. No chatter is good chatter. It looks like the Vikings spent much more wisely on the offensive line this summer compared to last. We will see if that continues to hold up. A lot of that will have to do with continued health, of course.

The SKOL chant was loud and clear.

FINAL: 23-10 VIKINGS WIN

With Rodgers likely out the rest of the season, the division is now wide open. With this defense, especially if they can get a burst of health, the Vikings might be the favorites. The Lions lost in a crazy game vs the Saints and fell a game behind the Vikings and Packers.

Up Next:

Let’s wait to see if we hear any more news on Teddy. I think it’s a given that he will be activated and likely play before week 11, with all the positive outlook coming out. However, I am still trying to figure out what next year will bring. According to the CBA, Teddy had to be “physically able to perform his football services as of the 6th regular season game” (that was this game). That verbiage is straight out of the CBA. So, as of now, his contract tolls until I see otherwise, I guess. Reporters with more access don’t seem to have any answers to this question, so we will see.

The Vikings will host the Baltimore Ravens at US Bank Stadium next Sunday. The Ravens are 3-3 on the season, after losing to the Chicago Bears today. On paper, the Vikings should have lost this game, although that was thrown out when Rodgers left. Next week the Vikings should win on paper.

Let’s hope that’s how it plays out on the field too, unlike today for Rodgers and the Packers.

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan
MinnesotaSportsFan.com

Stats/Standings – ESPN
Photo – Star Tribune – Jerry Holt