ON THE ROAD BETWEEN LAMBEAU FIELD AND WAUSAU, WIS. – The 90-minute drive from the Sean Mannion Sunday night debacle to the hotel in Wausau was an education on just how high Packers fans have had to set the bar when it comes to postgame radio rants.
These poor people haven't had a quarterback to complain about since 1990. If Aaron Rodgers is leaving in 2022, he's probably taking a fourth league MVP and maybe a second Super Bowl ring with him.
Meanwhile, Davante Adams is the league's best receiver. The running backs — A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones — are the first Packers duo since 1980 to both have 1,000 yards from scrimmage. The defense is eighth in fewest points allowed.
And the coach? Well, Matt LaFleur is 13-3 for the third straight year and owns home-field advantage in the NFC for the second straight year (with fans in the seats this time).
So what was left to stoke the ire of this spoiled fan base following a 37-10 blowout that probably blew up the Vikings' current regime?
The offensive line.
"They just ain't good enough!" one fan yelled after Green Bay's latest piecemeal unit allowed no sacks while helping the Packers run for 174 yards, two touchdowns and a 5.8-yard average.
Packers fans should be celebrating this offensive line. They should be carrying line coach Adam Stenavich around town on their shoulders.
Granted, Rodgers makes everyone around him better, particularly the linemen in front of him. That's something the Vikings definitely do not have, in case you haven't noticed.
The Packers had two first-team All-Pro picks on their offensive line a year ago. They let one of them, center Corey Linsley, sign with the Chargers. The other, left tackle David Bakhtiari, has been injured all season.
The Packers made do. Then they sustained more injuries. They lost their center. They lost another left tackle. They lost right tackle and Mounds View High grad Billy Turner.
Again, no problem.
They've had five different offensive line combinations in 16 games. They're 13-3 and have nothing meaningful to play for when they go to Detroit on Sunday.
For most of their past four games, they've played with a third-string left tackle, Yosuah Nijman, a backup center, Lucas Patrick, a rookie right guard, Royce Newman, and a journeyman right tackle, Dennis Kelly.
Nijman, 26, was undrafted in 2019. His only eight starts came this season. Pro Football Focus ranks him 74th among NFL tackles.
Left guard Jon Runyan Jr., 24, was a sixth-round draft pick in 2020. PFF ranks him 63rd among guards.
Patrick, 28, was undrafted in 2016. PFF says he's the 52nd-best center.
Newman, 24, was a fourth-round draft pick this year. He was the 142nd pick overall. That's 56 spots lower than where the Vikings took guard Wyatt Davis, who hasn't played a down this season. Newman has started all 16 games. PFF ranks him 89th among guards.
And, finally, Kelly was a fifth-round pick of the Eagles in 2012. He joined the Packers as a swing tackle this past offseason. PFF says he's 91st among tackles.
Presumably, the radio ranting taking place 250 miles to the west was more big picture late Sunday night and into the wee hours of Monday morning. Things like wanting a new coach, a new GM and a new and freshly vaccinated QB were no doubt hot topics in the Twin Cities.
Over here, the poor Packers fans were left to debate things like resting starters in Week 18. Will it help Aaron's little toe or hurt his big right arm?
And, of course, there was, for whatever reason, a real sense of urgency about this offensive line. Will Bakhtiari, Turner and center Josh Myers make it back for the playoffs!?
Using the famous words of the soon-to-be two-time reigning league MVP Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X and enjoy the fact the Packers have continued to be the best team in football with an undrafted third-string left tackle, an undrafted backup center, Day 3 draft picks at guard and a journeyman at right tackle.