On Thursday, Mike Zimmer wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t taking a jab at Aaron Rodgers when he said the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback “walks on water” during a conference call with the Green Bay media earlier in the week.
“That was a compliment,” Zimmer said emphatically. “It wasn’t like I was trying to dig him. He can do anything on a football field. I definitely wouldn’t criticize him. I’ve had to play him way too many times.”
When it comes to Rodgers and the Packers this week, the Minnesota Vikings have been the anti Jalen Ramseys.
On Monday, Zimmer went into more detail about his respect for Rodgers’ talent, going as far as recalling a preseason games from when he was defensive coordinator in Cincinnati.
“I don’t want to say anybody’s the best but he’s pretty darn close to being the best guy,” Zimmer said. “I mean his arm is unbelievable. I still remember when I played him in a preseason game in Cincinnati. He ducked under a guy, spun, rolled to his right and threw a 30-yard dart on the sideline over there and I said, “Holy crap”. Since that day I’ve had the utmost respect for this guy. He can make every throw, he’s smart, he’s tough obviously. He’s a great player.”
Zimmer hasn’t been alone in his praise for the Packers’ Hall of Fame quarterback, who battled a knee injury to lead Green Bay to victory in Week 1 over the Chicago Bears.
In an article released this week on the Player’s Tribune, shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes called Rodgers “one of the best to ever play the game” and said the Packers’ QB is “so confident in his game that it actually bothers you.”
Xavier Rhodes, arguably the best CB in the game, on Aaron Rodgers.
I have chills. pic.twitter.com/kCjjxjGRQZ
— James👨🏾💻 (@ScriptsByJames) September 12, 2018
Star safety Harrison Smith detailed Rodgers’ ability to make plays on the move or after things have broken down in the pocket.
“He’s so good and can really put the ball wherever he wants, from any position on the field whether he’s moving right, moving left or staying in the pocket, buying time for his guys, he can make any throw that you can imagine,” safety Harrison Smith. “That’s what makes him so difficult. When he’s moving around, he’s not always moving around to run, he’s moving around and freeing up guys down the field.”
That ability may be hindered this week by the knee injury. Head coach Mike McCarthy called it “no layup” that Rodgers would be under center on Sunday.
“We can’t assess his injury, we’ll have to see when we get to the game to see what we need to adjust as far as we go down the road, but he’s always been mobile back there,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “He’s been able to side swipe people, step up in the pocket and throw the ball. He’s very accurate, very smart, has a great presence in the pocket, has been able in the past to get outside the pocket, which he was able to do the other night. We’ll just have to see and adjust as we go through it.”
If Rodgers is able to play, he isn’t going to get anything to get jacked up about from Minnesota — not even from linebacker Anthony Barr, who injured Green Bay’s franchise player in Week 5 last season.
“I’m going about my normal business, I don’t usually talk to the opponents before the game, so I’m not too concerned about that,” Barr told the Twin Cities media on Thursday.