Sunday Was Perfectly Gift-Wrapped For Aaron Rodgers

I hate Aaron Rodgers almost as much as I hate the disgusting colors he wears on Sundays. I wish I could kidnap the man, sit him in a dark room and force him to slam keg-beer like a college freshman, until he pukes. On Sunday afternoon though, the Green Bay Packers QB proved (again) why my hatred is purely based on envy and jealousy. Rodgers is everything Minnesota Vikings fans have wanted since Tarkenton left and he’s been doing it for nearly 15 years. He’s just an elite NFL quarterback.

On the other side of the field, Kirk Cousins showed us (again) what he is, too. He’s a pretty good NFL quarterback. Unfortunately, there’s a huge gap in this league between “good” and “elite”. Vikings fans were slapped in the face with that truth today.

No Crowd Was a HUGE Factor

In hindsight, a lot of major variables in this week 1 matchup, favored Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Their biggest advantage, though, might have been the lack of crowd help from the hometown Vikings fans, at US Bank Stadium.

Without that deafening noise to eliminate pre-snap communication across the Packer offense, Rodgers looked like a world-class surgeon who was performing a routine surgery he’s already done 10,000 times. He and his offensive line were able to communicate assignments and change plays whenever they needed to.

It wasn’t just the easy communication Rodgers took advantage of. Because it was so quiet, he was able to use a hard-count to draw the Vikings defensive line offsides for at least two conversions on 3rd and short. It’s evident now, that the Vikings didn’t realize Rodgers’ cadence was going to give them problems.

Inexperienced Vikings Secondary

Not only did Rodgers get to line his offense up exactly how he wanted pre-snap, but once the ball was in his hands, he knew what the young and inexperienced Minnesota Vikings secondary was going to do, before they did it.

Again, knowing what we know now, is it shocking that a QB like Rodgers picked our youngster DB’s apart? We have two inexperienced non-starters from 2019, in Mike Hughes (23) and Holton Hill (23), now leading the crew. Next to them are two rookies, Cam Dantzler (22) and Jeff Gladney (23). Nobody got mini camps, OTA’s or a preseason to settle in.

When Rodgers realized how easy throwing the ball was going to be, he piled on. He ended up throwing 44 passes and seemed to pick on Cam Dantzler a lot down the field. Dantzler’s coverage wasn’t bad… but it wasn’t good enough against Rodgers. These young corners were not ready for what Rodgers was throwing at them today.

Undermanned Defensive Line

We really could have used Danielle Hunter today… and/or Michael Pierce, who opted out before the season for Coronavirus concerns. That became painfully evident as the day wore on. The defense was on the field for nearly 3/4 of this game. That is not an exaggeration. The Packers held the ball for 41:16 of the possible 60-minutes.

Backup defensive end, Ifeadi Odenigbo, made some plays early… but he disappeared with the rest of the d-line by the second quarter. They were never seen again. If Spielman can re-sign Ngakoue during the offseason, Rodgers will be staring at a MUCH different defensive line in 2021.

Minnesota’s young secondary, paired with their beat up defensive line, had Rodgers feeling like he was back in his prime. The two most important facets of an NFL defense were the Vikings’ two worst this weekend. That’s not a good thing when you are facing an elite QB.

Only Week 1

Luckily for our Minnesota Vikings, this was only week one and the QB matchups will get easier from here. The Colts (week 2 opponent) stunk it up today and a 38-year-old Philip Rivers on a new team, isn’t a 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers. In week 3, the the Tennessee Titans will come to town and I don’t need to tell you that Ryan Tannehill isn’t, exactly, elite.

The Vikings offense struggled today but they did get it going and were able to put points on the board. The next two games should be wins if Kirk Cousins and Co. are really good enough to be a playoff team in 2020-21.

Either way, we’ll learn a lot more about our purple and gold over the next two weeks, than we did today. What we saw unfold today, should have been expected. Aaron Rodgers will never again have a week 1 matchup with so many variables playing out in his favor.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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