Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Vikings Defense Improving Against Aaron Rodgers Under Zimmer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the type of player who can keep up opposing coaches up at night because of his versatility to do everything well.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said as much Wednesday when asked about the Packers signal-caller.

"He can scramble. He's got great vision. He's smart. He's a competitor," Zimmer said. "He's got an unbelievable arm. He can throw it from any position, anywhere, any place.

"He's sees everything and then he has the ability when he starts scrambling to throw that sucker deep and be accurate," Zimmer added. "He's unbelievably accurate."

Rodgers has fared well in 15 career starts against the Vikings, throwing for 3,976 yards and 34 touchdowns with five interceptions.

But ever since Zimmer arrived in Minnesota in 2014, the Vikings have made strides in defending the five-time Pro Bowler.

Rodgers' passer rating has decreased in each of his past four meetings with the Vikings, going from 138.7 in Week 5 of the 2014 season to 109.7 during that season's Week 12 matchup.

The trend continued last season as Rodgers had a passer rating of 86.9 in the teams' Week 11 tilt, and was followed by a rating of 80.8 in Minnesota's Week 17 win at Lambeau Field to earn the 2015 NFC North title. 

Zimmer and the Vikings have also improved in pressuring Rodgers. The Vikings sacked him three times in 2014 but improved that statistic to seven times last season. Minnesota has also improved at keeping the two-time NFL MVP in the pocket, limiting Rodgers to just six rushing attempts for 18 yards in the past two contests.

Zimmer noted the key to rushing Rodgers is to use a calculated approach.

"We just gave them different looks (in Week 17 last season). We rushed smart, I think," Zimmer said. "Other than that, he got out a couple times.

"He'll probably get out a couple times this week, I'm guessing," he added. "He's pretty good at it.

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison will face the Packers for the 19th time in the regular season Sunday, the most of any current Minnesota player.

Robison said the matchup with Rodgers is challenging because of the quarterback's awareness.

"He's a smart quarterback," Robison said. "He knows where his offensive linemen are at all of the time.

"He knows where the defensive linemen are at, so it makes it really hard to make sure you're in the right rush lanes when you're rushing him because if you're not, he can make you pay by getting out of the pocket, and then he's got the opportunity to make some plays with his legs and also get out of the pocket and make some long throws."

Robison, who has 4.5 career sacks of Rodgers, echoed Zimmer's thoughts that the Vikings have to come at Rodgers with a plan in mind.

It's a formula that worked well to end the 2015 season.

"You've got to rush him the right way," Robison said. "Last year, we didn't let him out of the pocket a lot. We made the pocket collapse on him.

"We did a good job of stopping the run for the most part, so that's what we've got to do again on Sunday. We've got to stop their running game," he added. "Once we get them in passing situations, we've got to get around Rodgers feet."

Kendricks wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in Week 1 against Tennessee.

The second-year linebacker returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown and added seven tackles (five solo), including one tackle for loss. Kendricks' noteworthy play included his first career interception and first NFL touchdown.

Kendricks is the eighth Viking to win an NFC Player of the Week honor under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who has coached 33 games in Minnesota. Kendricks is the fifth defensive player to do so. The other three honorees have been on special teams.

View images from the Wednesday, Sept. 14 practice at Winter Park.

Injury report

The first injury report of Week 2 has been released.

For the Vikings: Sharrif Floyd (knee), Xavier Rhodes (knee), MyCole Pruitt (knee) and Matt Kalil (hip) did not participate. Nick Easton (ankle) and Jerick McKinnon (foot/lower leg) were limited. Eric Kendricks (ankle), Kyle Rudolph (knee), Adrian Peterson (ankle), Charles Johnson (quadriceps) and Rhett Ellison (knee) fully participated.

For the Packers: Chris Banjo (hamstring), Jayrone Elliott (hamstring), Josh Hawkins (hamstring) and Sam Shields (concussion) did not participate. Trevor Davis (shoulder) was limited. Jeff Janis (hand) fully participated.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.