Souhan: At QB, Packers try to be great while Vikings would settle for good

  • Updated: August 31, 2013 - 6:17 PM

The differences between the Vikings and Packers extend beyond color schemes and stadia, hometown skylines and Super Bowl results.

The differences stem from and have led to discrepancies at the most important position in sports. Last year, the Vikings and Packers both made the playoffs and they split their regular-season meetings, yet they were as different as two teams can be. As the 2013 season begins, their differences at quarterback are as marked and important as ever.

The Packers win because of Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings try to win despite Christian Ponder. And the presence of both in their current position is due to the man who made himself the modern linchpin of the rivalry, Brett Favre.

The Packers assume Rodgers’ mobility and accuracy will diminish their offensive line problems, elevate any competent receiver and obscure defensive weaknesses. They’ve won without a running game, and without investing heavily in free agents.

The Vikings assume that Ponder needs all the help they can give him. They have built a superior roster featuring defensive line depth, excellent first-round draft picks, an outstanding offensive line and the best player in the game.

The Packers rely on a new-age, West Coast passing game intended to stretch defenses to the breaking point, the Vikings on an old-school, power-rushing offense intended to wear down defenses and control the ball.

There are differences in personality as well as approach. Rodgers is so cocky he has angered current and former receivers who should feel blessed to play with him. Ponder lacks athletic arrogance. You want a guy with Ponder’s personality to date your daughter; you want a guy with Rodgers’ personality to run your business.

Rodgers’ presence in Green Bay is the result of luck and foresight. When he slipped to the 24th spot in the first round of the 2005 draft, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson had the prescience to recognize that you don’t pass on a talented quarterback even though your starting quarterback at the time was one of the most durable players in NFL history.

Ponder’s presence in Minnesota is the result of need and quarterback fatigue. With the 12th pick in the 2011 draft, Rick Spielman, weary of a procession of temps at quarterback, chose the most mature, NFL-ready, major-program quarterback available, choosing Ponder over TCU’s Andy Dalton and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick. The choice made sense because Ponder is athletic and mature; it also reeked of desperation, because Ponder’s college career did not suggest he was worthy of the 12th pick in any draft.

Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Ponder, Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Cordarrelle Patterson. What do those names have in common? They’re the Vikings first-round picks since 2005. All but Ponder either has brought or promises to bring excellent value relative to his draft position.

Rodgers and Ponder are linked by two former Packers turned Vikings.

Favre’s presence in Green Bay enabled Rodgers to learn the NFL from the bench. Favre’s presence in Minnesota led to the Vikings craving their own version of Rodgers, a high draft pick they could nurture.

Greg Jennings’ departure from Green Bay in free agency stemmed from his desire to become something more than one of Rodgers’ handful of productive receivers. He and Ponder have yet to look comfortable together. Jennings might have traded in a quarterback who could get him the ball frequently but not exclusively for a quarterback who might not be able to get him the ball.

The NFL cliché holds that quarterbacks receive too much credit and blame. This is false. Quarterbacks receive exactly the right amount of credit and blame. No other player possesses as much power to turn bad plays into good plays, or good into bad.

The Packers chose a quarterback when they didn’t need one, and he became perhaps the most valuable player in the game over the past four seasons.

The Vikings chose a quarterback when they desperately needed one, and he played well enough for a talented roster to make the playoffs last season.

In 2012, the Packers won 11 regular-season games. The Vikings won 10. Rodgers won regardless of his supporting cast; Ponder because of his.

Maybe Rodgers isn’t all that cocky and Ponder isn’t all that humble. Maybe they’re both just realists.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 2:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Washington
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Memphis 6:30 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Nashville
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Arizona
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 11:00 AM
Georgetown
Maine 11:00 AM
Seton Hall
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Georgia State 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Kentucky 1:00 PM
Louisville
Northern Ky 2:00 PM
Northwestern
UAB 3:00 PM
North Carolina
IUPUI 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Oakland 4:00 PM
Maryland
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
BYU
Mercer 5:00 PM
Georgia
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Pacific
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Tennessee
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
SMU 12:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
UCF 2:00 PM
Houston
BYU 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
Portland
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close