Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may need to catch up on some Zs after this weekend.
According to a Green Bay media member, Zimmer said via conference call that preparing for Rodgers can make for a sleepless week. The comment was relayed to Rodgers, who said it’s “kind of the same” on his end.
“He’s a great coach. I have a ton of respect for Mike Zimmer, what he’s done in this league. I love his demeanor,” Rodgers said. “I have a lot of respect for him and the way that he and his staff have gone about their business over the years.
“It’s a tough week,” he added. “You definitely think about all the different things they can do.”
The Packers will host the Vikings at Lambeau Field for the first of two Border Battles this season, and both teams enter the contest fresh off a season-opening victory.
Green Bay defeated Chicago 10-3 on Sept. 5 to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. Rodgers was asked if there are similarities between the Bears stout defense and the Vikings. The quarterback said that the division rivals’ defensive schemes differ, but he can draw some comparisons “talent-wise” between the two rosters.
“You have Pro Bowl-caliber players at every level of the defense,” Rodgers said of the Vikings. “Great inside linebackers, two guys off the edge (Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen) who can rush really, really well, and then a back end that can really cover. One of the top safeties in the league in Harrison [Smith], and obviously a great corner combo with Trae [Waynes] and Xavier [Rhodes].”
Added Rodgers: “They do a great job of playing their scheme. They’ve been playing together for a while, and they’re a tough team to attack.”
Zimmer also has garnered respect from new Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur, who last faced the Vikings as the Rams offensive coordinator in 2017, when Minnesota defeated Los Angeles 24-7.
LaFleur said that Zimmer’s defense “stresses” an offense.
“He presents a lot of similar looks, and they do a lot of different things off of those looks,” he explained. “They’ve got Pro Bowlers everywhere. It certainly is going to be a good task for our offense – a good measuring stick to see where we’re at and see how much we can improve from last week.”
Here are other highlights from the Packers talking about the Vikings as the teams prepare for their first of two meetings this season.
WR Davante Adams on going against Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes:
“We have some battles. Definitely a lot of mutual respect for one another. He’s a great football player. We definitely get the best out of each other. I’m looking forward to it.”
LB Blake Martinez on Vikings run game:
“It’s crazy to see how they’ve kind of switched since last year. I feel like last year they passed the ball a ton, did a lot of things in that aspect. It’s going to be another test for us, especially the front seven, to stop the run game and make sure we’re on our Ps and Qs in the fundamentals.
“[Dalvin Cook is] a great back. He’s a great player, and I think he has the ability to do an all-around-back type of thing, where he’s able to go out of the backfield and make plays. He’s agile, quick, strong – everything you kind of think of in a good back.”
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.
LaFleur on when he realized Vikings QB Kirk Cousins’ potential:
Note: LaFleur served as the Redskins quarterbacks coach from 2010-13. Washington drafted Cousins in 2012.
“We thought that [he would be a starter] before we drafted him. We had a really high grade on him in the draft, and it was just one of those deals where we had taken Robert Griffin with the second overall pick, and when he was staring at us in the fourth round, we couldn’t pass it up. Credit to him – we got a chance to get to know him a little bit throughout the Senior Bowl process, and he is so conscientious and just a hard worker. His arm talent is as good as anybody in terms of, he is a natural thrower. I think he’s fearless in the pocket. We just combined his physical skills with the type of guy he is, and we thought he was a for-sure guy that was going to be a star in this league. He’s proved it.”