It’s easy to tell when Aaron Rodgers is angry. He’s awake! And listening to a coach telling him what to do! And doing just about anything in the world except delivering a teardrop bomb to Davante Adams or, perhaps, sipping some high-end booze and lamenting the Packers’ draft decisions. Rodgers looked a little miffed early in Sunday’s 43-34 victory over the Vikings, but four TDs and a convincing divisional win later, NFL Recap wants to see more of the 2020 Rodgers Hostility Tour.
Week 1 NFL Recap: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings led 7-3 in the first quarter, and things were getting a little weird. The first Packers drive stalled at the 12-yard line after Rodgers threw three straight passes to his running backs, completing two for a total of minus two yards.
The second Packers drive stalled at the one-yard line; on one goal-line play, Rodgers only had one defender to beat for a rushing touchdown while rolling out but opted to squirt an errant pass to Aaron Jones instead.
Even after Jaire Alexander sacked Kirk Cousins in the end zone for a safety, the Packers offense could only drive into field goal range and collapse in a pile of throwaways and out-of-sync plays to take an 8-7 lead. Rodgers was getting that, “I’d rather fish a dead raccoon out of my dryer vent than execute this game plan” look about him.
And then, suddenly, Rodgers started throwing bombs again. Surgical, pinpoint bombs, not just to Adams (14 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs) but Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4-96-1) and Allen Lazard (4-63-1). Rodgers finished with 364 yards and four touchdowns. The Vikings couldn’t keep up, because they were the Vikings. And any worries about the Packers offensive rhythm and play-calling disappeared. For now.
What it means
It’s not a Week 1 overreaction to state that the Packers are by far the class of the NFC North. The Vikings are a rebuilding team that does not know it; Cousins has no one to throw to besides Adam Thielen, their defense lacks a pass rush with Danielle Hunter injured, and their cornerbacks are going to spend the year getting burnt like the bottom of a fajita pan.
The Bears and Lions are just inept enough to punch each other out. The Packers have a deep defense and a Hall of Fame quarterback who is finally connecting with receivers not named Adams after two to three seasons of reluctance and resistance.
Per Packers Fox6 television reporter Lily Zhao, Rodgers compared his connection to Adams on Sunday to his rapport with Jordy Nelson and sang the praises of Valdes-Scantling. Maybe he’s done pining for the receivers he doesn’t have. Maybe Matt LaFleur has just given up and will let Rodgers be Rodgers. Maybe the helmet headset tuned out in the second quarter. Whatever happened, it resulted in a taste of mid-2010s Rodgers. And it went down like smoky premium tequila.
What’s next for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers?
The Lions are bringing their rebuilt secondary and predictable coverage schemes to Lambeau Field next week. They should put up slightly more resistance than the Vikings, but not much. A trip to New Orleans to face the Saints on Sunday night in Week 3 should help us to start sorting out the early NFC Super Bowl picture.