Helplessness is a feeling spreading throughout defensive backfields that stand between Aaron Rodgers and his seemingly effortless pursuits of a second consecutive Super Bowl title and the greatest season by a quarterback in NFL history.
"There are a number of times you look at tape and you say, 'What do you tell that defensive back in that situation?' " said coach Leslie Frazier, whose Vikings (2-6) play Rodgers' Packers (8-0) at Lambeau Field on "Monday Night Football."
Sometimes, there's nothing to be said or corrected. Sometimes, even perfect position isn't good enough.
"Sometimes," said Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, "you're kind of helpless out there."
The Vikings know the feeling all too well. Only 22 days ago, Rodgers opened a 33-27 victory over the Vikings by completing 13 consecutive passes. At halftime, he was 17-for-20, with the only incompletions coming on two drops and a spike to stop the clock.
At the final gun, Rodgers was 24-for-30 for 335 yards, three touchdowns, no turnovers and a 146.5 passer rating. Another ho-hum day in what's becoming a record-setting season.
"It's like he's unstoppable," said cornerback Marcus Sherels, who played nickelback that day because Winfield had a neck injury and Chris Cook was jailed the day before.
Cook remains separated from team-related activities indefinitely as he defends a felony domestic assault charge. Winfield returns Monday, which can't hurt but might not make a difference considering just how well Rodgers and his receiving corps are playing.
On pace to set numerous NFL passing records, Rodgers is the first quarterback in NFL history to post 2,600 yards passing and 24 touchdowns in the first eight games of a season. He's also the first to open a season with eight consecutive passer ratings of 110 or better. The previous mark: five consecutive games.
Among his many strengths, Rodgers' accuracy leads the way. He's completing 72.5 percent of his passes, with precise ball placement and a virtual telepathic relationship with his targets.
Or, as Vikings defensive end Jared Allen put it, "The dude is throwing balls where most people don't throw 'em."
One of those came with 18 seconds left in the first half of last week's 45-38 victory at San Diego. With receiver Jordy Nelson blanketed by cornerback Marcus Gilchrist near the front-right pylon, Rodgers threw a back-shoulder pass that was low, outside and exactly where he and Nelson knew only Nelson could catch it. Nelson dived, caught the ball and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown.
"This is the classic -- classic -- definition of throwing a guy open," former Vikings offensive coordinator and Ravens coach Brian Billick said during the telecast. "Having faith in Jordy Nelson and [tight end] Jermichael Finley, his two go-to guys in this type of throw."
Even more impressive was the fact Rodgers made the throw on the run while outside the pocket. That's yet another strength of Rodgers.
"His accuracy outside the pocket is second to none," receiver Greg Jennings told Sports Illustrated. "Almost better than when he's in the pocket, which is almost unheard of."
It's that accurate back-shoulder throw that's confounding NFL defensive backs who already are hamstrung by rules that favor the offense.
"It's really tough," Winfield said. "It's an offensive game, so as a corner if you even put your hands on a receiver, it's pass interference."
Cornerbacks also have to be careful not to guess back-shoulder throw. Lean toward the back shoulder too soon and, boom, the receiver and quarterback can go deep the other way.
Rodgers, of course, presents another aggravating strength: mobility. Defensive backs who turn their back on him in man coverage can look up and see him running free down the field. He has two rushing touchdowns and a long run of 25 yards this season.
"He's on a roll right now," said Allen, who had two of his NFL-leading 12 1/2 sacks against Rodgers three weeks ago. "But we have to force him to do things on our terms. It's going to be tough. But if it was easy, we wouldn't want to play football."
So what, exactly, is the answer to the riddle that is Rodgers?
"You have to find a way to put him on his back," Frazier said. "You have to find a way to tackle him, to disrupt the timing because if he has time, you see it, it's like watching 7-on-7 out there. He's so accurate, he recognizes coverages well so you have to find a way to disrupt that timing between he and the receiver somehow."
Typically, that would mean a heavy dose of blitz packages. But Rodgers is anything but typical at this point.
According to STATS LLC, Rodgers ranks No. 1 in the league with a 139.9 passer rating against the blitz. He is completing 70 percent of his passes (49-for-70) for 923 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception against the blitz this season.
"He's just the best quarterback in the league," Winfield said. "He knows it and everybody else knows it."