To whatever degree the uncertainty over Aaron Rodgers’ status for Sunday’s game against the Vikings is an attempt by the Green Bay Packers to scuttle their opponent’s preparation, the Vikings aren’t falling for it.
Rodgers did not practice Wednesday, and coach Mike McCarthy said the quarterback would be part of the team’s injury rehab group after Rodgers sprained his left knee on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. But after Rodgers returned to the game, engineering the Packers’ comeback from a 20-0 deficit on the way to a 24-23 win, the Vikings made it clear they don’t expect the two-time MVP to miss this week’s game.
“Honestly, I don’t care. We know he’s playing,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “We’re going to have a great practice today, go out there and execute our assignments and get ready to play Aaron. I don’t know if he’s mobile, I don’t know if he can run. We don’t know anything, so we’re just going to go into the game plan that he’s running, and we’re going to go out there and execute our assignment.”
If Rodgers were to miss Sunday’s game, the Vikings would face backup quarterback DeShone Kizer, whom they held to 179 yards last Oct. 29 during a 33-16 victory over the Cleveland Browns in London. Kizer fumbled in the red zone while filling in for Rodgers on Sunday night, and threw an interception that Khalil Mack returned for a touchdown.
“I think it’s obvious,” McCarthy said Wednesday of Kizer’s performance. “It didn’t go very well.”
Rodgers, though, said after Sunday’s comeback win that he was playing against the Vikings. On Wednesday at least, the Vikings saw no reason not to take him at his word.
“Our biggest thing is that you have to prepare for every scenario,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “If he doesn’t move well, try to do these things, and if he looks like he’s moving pretty well, then we have to adjust to some other parts of the game plan.”
Cousins not on Rhodes’ list
In an article for the Players’ Tribune, cornerback Xavier Rhodes ranked the top seven players in the NFC North and included safety Harrison Smith, himself and Griffen on his list. Rhodes put Rodgers at the top, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford No. 2.
Not on the list was new Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, whom Rhodes said he left off the list because Cousins hasn’t played in the division yet. That, Cousins said, was fine with him.
“I think that is fair,” Cousins said. “I have a lot of games ahead of me, hopefully. I’ll be able to put a sample size out there and then we can continue the conversation. But honestly, whether I’m in the top seven or top 70 or top 700, I’d rather just win football games. I don’t’ really care where I rank and that kind of stuff as much as I’d like to win and get playoff wins and someday hopefully win a championship.”
Elflein limited in practice
Center Pat Elflein, who missed the Vikings’ first game as he continued his rehab from offseason ankle and shoulder operations, was limited in the Vikings’ first practice of the week. Elflein continued to work with quarterback Trevor Siemian in individual drills, while Brett Jones worked with Cousins once again.
Cornerback Mackensie Alexander was a full participant on Wednesday after sitting out on Sunday with the ankle sprain he sustained at the end of the preseason. Cornerback Trae Waynes was also a full participant after injuring his right knee on Sunday, and running back Roc Thomas practiced in full after missing Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.