Ex-Badger Tolzien steps into big shoes as Aaron Rodgers' replacement

Sunday will mark the Wisconsin product’s second NFL start, but the Vikings have seen flashes of his playmaking savvy.

The Vikings witnessed last week, for the second consecutive season, the ability of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who has emerged as a standout after one season at Wisconsin.

Strangely, the Vikings will face a former Badgers quarterback in consecutive weeks. Third-year pro Scott Tolzien, Wilson’s predecessor at Wisconsin, will make his second career start Sunday at Lambeau Field.

“It is kind of neat when you think about it,” said Viking Marcus Sherels, who faced Tolzien in 2009 as a Gophers cornerback.

Tolzien ended his collegiate career leading Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl following the 2010 season (the Badgers lost to Texas Christian 21-19 when a Tolzien conversion pass was knocked down in the final minute). Now, he is Aaron Rodgers’ temporary replacement as Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone suffered on Nov. 4 against the Bears.

So what did Tolzien do in between those two significant points of his playing career? He went undrafted in 2011, signed with and was cut by the Chargers, then was a third-stringer for San Francisco the past two seasons. The Rolling Meadows, Ill., native returned to Wisconsin, where he signed and was added to the Packers practice squad at the start of this season.

Following Rodgers’ injury, Tolzien was signed off the practice squad and thrown in at quarterback, seeing his first NFL action when Seneca Wallace suffered a groin injury on the opening drive against the Eagles. On Sunday, Tolzien will become the first quarterback — other than Rodgers or Brett Favre — to start consecutive games for the Packers since Don Majkowski started three consecutive games in 1992.

“I think I try to avoid [thinking] that for now,” Tolzien told reporters in Green Bay this week. “That’s something for down the road, looking back. I’m just trying to have tunnel vision right now with a laser focus on what we’re trying to do. You don’t want to make something different than what it is.”

While Wilson had success as Tolzien’s successor, leading the Badgers to a second consecutive Rose Bowl, the Packers haven’t been as fortunate in their attempt to replace Rodgers. They’ve lost three consecutive games, including the Bears game in which Rodgers suffered the injury.

Tolzien has passed for 619 yards in two games with a .658 completion percentage, but he’s thrown five interceptions. Three of those occurred last week against the Giants in his first career start.

“I was worried about his plate being too full in New York, so we kind of straddled that line,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s off to a good start this week. Any time you’re playing with a young quarterback, there’s that line you’re trying to balance of making sure he’s comfortable and not overloaded but also giving the offensive unit an opportunity to be explosive.”

The run game has suffered without Rodgers. The Packers had a season-low 55 rushing yards against the Giants, who stacked eight or nine players in the box, but Tolzien took advantage of man coverage with an accurate deep ball. Five of his 24 completed passes against the Giants went for 20 yards or more.

“He’s quite capable of making those plays, which show up on tape,” Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “So if he’s making them I fully expect them to continue doing them, and their receivers are making big plays for him.”

Tolzien clearly isn’t Rodgers, or Wilson for that matter, but it’s the best option the Packers have at the moment. A chance to seize a starting position is rare for any practice squad player, let alone a chance at quarterback for the Packers.

“We’re so lucky to have Aaron as our quarterback,” Tolzien said. “All of us want him playing. But at the same time, you don’t make excuses. It’s what we have in the locker room and you make the most of it, plain and simple, and you go from there.”

  • related content

  • Vikings notes: Cole is new man in the middle

    Saturday November 23, 2013

    Audie Cole will make his first career start at middle linebacker in place of Erin Henderson, who was declared out of Sunday’s game while he tends to a personal matter.

  • Regulators approve stadium budget after Vikings chip in more

    Friday November 22, 2013

    The team will pay $41.4 million more to preserve the stadium’s design and high-tech features. That brings the team’s portion of the $975 million cost to $503.4 million.

  • Peterson questionable for Sunday; Henderson ruled out

    Friday November 22, 2013

    Adrian Peterson listed as questionable because of a groin injury. Middle linebacker Erin Henderson was declared out while he tends to a personal matter.

  • Green Bay Packers' Scott Tolzien looks to pass during the second half...

  • Scott Tolzien hasn’t won as an NFL starter, but he hit on some deep throws against the Giants.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Ottawa 12:30 PM
NY Islanders
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close