Rodgers Praises Vikings’ Defense and Justin Jefferson; Throws Underhand Shade at Cousins

The Minnesota Vikings beat up the Green Bay Packers over the weekend, a blog open I will never get sick of writing. Aaron Rodgers struggled to find open receivers down the field and Kirk Cousins found Justin Jefferson all over the field.

And now that the NFL season is back, Aaron Rodgers is again doing a weekly Tuesday morning segment on The Pat McAfee Show. Obviously, the Vikings were a main topic of conversation and Rodgers did not disappoint.

Aaron Rodgers on Minnesota’s new defense

Let’s start with Aaron’s thoughts on Ed Donatell’s defense in year one as Minnesota’s defensive coordinator. Rodgers came away very impressed by some of the schemes and looks thrown at him on Sunday, also noting how good Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith and Harrison Smith are.

This clip is delicious for a lot of reasons. Knowing that Ed Donatell’s schemes and disguises confused Rodgers all afternoon makes me happy. Especially when it comes directly from the horse’s mouth. But A-Rodg wasn’t generic with his answers. He dug deep into what the Minnesota secondary threw at him, what surprised him and what didn’t.

Rodgers knew that Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter were elite EDGE rushers. What made my pants tight, was how Rodgers — a 1st-ballot Hall-of-Fame QB — talked about the Vikings’ secondary.

Let’s not forget. The secondary was not expected to be a strength for the Minnesota Vikings’ defense. If it somehow ends up as that, and Smith/Hunter stay healthy… wow.

Rodgers Impressed by JJ, Not Cousins

In their handshake / dap-up session after the game on Sunday, on-field microphones thought they overheard Aaron Rodgers’ tell Justin Jefferson that he was the best player “in the game today”. Rodgers confirmed his love for Jefferson’s game but claims his words were “on the field, today”.

Rodgers praised JJ’s route running and compared his releases to that of DaVontae Adams. He described Jefferson as THE difference in Sunday’s game, too. The Green Bay quarterback, quite literally, could not find enough compliments for the Vikings superstar wide receiver. The envy and jealousy, in his breath, was pungent.

But woven into Rodgers’ obsession over Justin Jefferson, was a lot of underhand shade being tossed at Kirk Cousins. In the middle of complimenting JJ, Rodgers downplayed Kirk’s involvement, calling him a “very steady at quarterback”. That he “did a nice job getting [the Vikings] into the right stuff and making the plays that were there to make”. Making it clear repeatedly that Justin Jefferson was the difference, not the guy passing it to him.

No Lies Detected?

Is Aaron Rodgers wrong about Justin Jefferson being the difference-maker? Not necessarily. But he was so open on some routes that I could’ve helped someone’s fantasy team if placed into some of those situations.

And Kirk Cousins deserves his fair share of credit for what happened on Sunday and what could transire for the Minnesota Vikings’ offense throughout the course of this season. Kirk isn’t just a game manager. He’s a fucking delivery man. If there’s a play to be made and receivers are open, he’s going to deliver them the football 9/10 times.

And there aren’t a lot of teams across the NFL who can say that about their QB, no matter how good their receiving options are. Outside of his backhanded slaps at Cousins, I appreciated everything about this Aaron Rodgers interview.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan