Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has become very familiar with Green Bay Packers superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Too familiar, in fact, for his liking.
“I think they should trade him,” Zimmer joked Wednesday.
The Vikings are preparing to match up with Rodgers for the seventh time since Zimmer took over as head coach in Minnesota. In those matchups, Rogers has won four of six, throwing 13 touchdowns, two interceptions and cleared 30 points three times.
“I’ve been in the NFL 20-some years and I can’t remember a guy that does the things this guy does,” Zimmer said. “Obviously we’ve played against [Tom] Brad, Peyton Manning, the other Manning. When you combine everything, his arm strength, his intelligence, his escapability, the way he sees things.”
Zimmer did get the best of Rodgers last season at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings held the Packers to just 14 points and Rodgers finished the game with just a 70.7 rating – the lowest of any game against the Vikings since 2014.
But Rodgers didn’t make it easy on the Vikings, scrambling for a late-game touchdown to bring the score within three.
“He’s elusive, he’s so smart,” Zimmer said. “He sees where the open space is. He knows what the coverage is. A lot of times he’s just playing with you as far as where he can go with it. He knows, ‘Hey if I give them a little extra time, I’m going to get this.’ At the end of the game, he tells the tackle, ‘Hey I’m going to roll out to my left, you pin the guy inside, I’m going to go to my left.’ He’s done that.”
Zimmer said that his team is forced to prepare differently for Rodgers because of his array of high-level skills. He is the all-time leader in passer rating in the NFL and currently leads the league in touchdowns.
“He can do so many things, you have to be on top of everything that you do,” Zimmer said. “He can get the ball out so fast if you pressure him. And they’ve got a good scheme. They do a good job of trying to attack the coverage that you’re in and he’s got a lot of flexibility to change at the line of scrimmage.”
“He’s great on the hard count. Unbelievable on the hard count. He gets guys to jump, then it’s a bad deal,” Zimmer added.
If there is one advantage for the Vikings, it’s the Packers’ injuries on the offensive line. Rodgers has been sacked 19 times this season, the most of any quarterback. In last year’s victory over Green Bay, the Vikings sacked him five times.