NFL Sunday Insider: Rodgers dominates Vikings

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 26, 2013 - 5:11 PM

That’s probably an understatement, but Aaron Rodgers certainly puts up good numbers against the Vikings.

hide

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. was sacked by Jared Allen in 2009 at Lambeau Field. Allen had 4½ sacks that night.

Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Fred Pagac is an Ohio State guy to the very base of his being. And Ohio State guys set the bar high.

A couple of years back, when Pagac was Vikings defensive coordinator, he had to speak to the media once a week during the season. He liked speaking to the media about as much as Woody Hayes liked Clemson linebackers intercepting his quarterback’s passes.

It was Packers week and Pagac, who is now the team’s linebackers coach, was asked about a fella named Aaron Rodgers.

“Aaron Rodgers,” said Pagac, “is a good football player.”

And that was pretty much that.

Fortunately, the Packers media relations department puts out a weekly release called “the Dope Sheet.” It’s chock full of great stats and not a bad place to turn if you ever want to go deeper than “Aaron Rodgers is a good football player.”

So while Pagac’s assessment remains accurate to this day, let us embellish it a little bit via the Dope Sheet’s “Stat of the Week.”

In 10 regular-season games against the Vikings, Rodgers has completed 70.7 percent of his passes (232 of 328) for 2,840 yards, 24 touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 116.4. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via the Dope Sheet, the 116.4 rating against a single opponent ranks No. 1 since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. No. 2 is Dan Fouts’ 112.6 rating against the Browns. No. 3 is Rodgers’ 111.0 rating against the Lions.

Alan Williams, the more talkative current Vikings defensive coordinator, was asked this week how in the world he prepares for Rodgers knowing that Rodgers knows the Vikings defensive scheme better than any other team in the league except Chicago. Sunday night’s game will be the 12th time, including one playoff victory, that Rodgers has faced essentially the same Purple scheme.

“We want to make sure we focus on ourselves, and I think that’s what we did last year,” Williams said. “If you focus on yourself, I think that’s the way to get the job done. We don’t expect to do anything different this week.”

Even in the Vikings’ Week 17 playoff-clinching victory a year ago, it took a last-second field goal to beat a red-hot Rodgers 37-34. Rodgers was 28-of-40 (70 percent) for 365 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 131.8 passer rating.

The Vikings are blitzing more this year, but they still pretty much depend on a no-frills 4-3 scheme that relies on front-four pressure, the back seven players being where they are supposed to be and everyone tackling well.

More than any other game the Vikings play, the pressure is on the defensive linemen to beat their man physically. With time, Rodgers doesn’t get fooled and, unlike Brett Favre, he is careful not to throw games away.

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has 17 sacks in 12 games against the Packers, including 4½ in the 2009 “MNF” game that was Favre’s first game against his former team. He will be facing rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Allen said it’s important not to overthink one’s approach to stopping Rodgers.

“You can’t get outside yourself, you know what I mean?” he said. “… You can’t get out of sorts, you can’t start trying new things. With a guy like Aaron, the last thing you [want to] do is be wondering where am I supposed to be? You can’t be afraid to play your defense, you can’t be afraid to play what you play. It’s going to come down to guys making plays, being where you’re supposed to be.”

Northern Intelligence

Upon eight seasons of further review, it does appear the Packers will be OK with the Vikings signing Brad Childress before he had a chance to interview for the Green Bay job in 2006. Mike McCarthy stepped in, won a Lombardi Trophy and is on pace to have a street named after him.

He is also 33-10 against NFC North opponents. That’s a .767 winning percentage that’s second only to Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s .800 mark (36-9) against AFC East teams.

• • •

For the fourth consecutive season, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will not play an entire 16-game season. A torn groin muscle suffered last week has sidelined him indefinitely.

Normally, that would be a bad thing for a player in his contract year. But the effect of Cutler’s absence on the Bears has been well documented since a 7-3 start in 2011 became an 8-8 finish after Cutler broke his thumb. With a 64.9 completion percentage and a 91.7 passer rating in seven games under new coach Marc Trestman, Cutler likely isn’t going anywhere.

• • •

The records keep piling up for Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who is only 28 years old. With 155 yards and two touchdowns, he broke one of Herman Moore’s team records and moved within one touchdown of matching another. Johnson moved past Moore with his 35th 100-yard game.

And he now has 61 career touchdown catches, one shy of Moore. Johnson also extended his NFL mark of consecutive games with at least two touchdown catches to 11.

Three observations …

• Wouldn’t you feel more secure in believing that Brett Favre doesn’t want to come back if he had talked about turning down a better offer than a Rams team that’s 3-4 and playing in the NFC West?

• Call it the NFL media’s circle of life.

A, Reporters ask if Matt Cassel replacing Christian Ponder is the spark the team needs. B, Reporters ask if Josh Freeman replacing Cassel is the spark the team needs. C, Reporters ask if Ponder’s experience in the offense is the spark the team needs.

• It sure looks as though Percy Harvin’s comeback from a hip injury is on a collision course with the Vikings when they visit Seattle on Nov. 17.

Two predictions …

• The Giants’ smiles will be short-lived as the Eagles, unlike the Vikings, hang on to Eli’s pick-six opportunities.

• Mike Shanahan would have had a more enjoyable return to Denver if his Redskins weren’t catching Peyton Manning coming off a loss.

  • related content

  • Aaron Rodgers scrambled away from Jared Allen in 2011, one of 11 times the Packers star quarterback has faced the Vikings. Last year, Rodgers averaged 308 passing yards in three meetings.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 0
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 5
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 4
Minnesota - LP: K. Correia 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: B. Chen 5
Cincinnati - LP: T. Cingrani 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: E. Jackson 8
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 4
Milwaukee 6 Bottom 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 7
Atlanta 4 Top 8th Inning
NY Mets 1
NY Yankees 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Tampa Bay 11
Seattle 0 Top 9th Inning
Miami 7
Chicago WSox 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Texas 5
Philadelphia 0 Top 5th Inning
Colorado 3
Arizona 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Los Angeles 3
San Francisco 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Diego 1
Brooklyn 94 FINAL
Toronto 87
Golden State 109 FINAL
LA Clippers 105
Atlanta 98 4th Qtr 2:45
Indiana 83
Memphis 8:30 PM
Oklahoma City
Chicago 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Columbus 3 3rd Prd 6:01
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Colorado
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 1 FINAL
Chicago 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Colorado 0
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
D.C. 1 2nd Half 3:00
Columbus 1
Toronto FC 1 2nd Half
FC Dallas 1
Montreal 0 2nd Half
Sporting Kansas City 1
Portland 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Seattle 9:30 PM
Chivas USA
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
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which quarterback is best in the NFL draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close