Against a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber, success is a relative term. But Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has had as much success as any coach in the league in containing the Green Bay Packers’ two-time MVP quarterback.
“I don’t really know,” Zimmer said when asked about his success during a Wednesday conference call. “We try to do our best against every quarterback that we play. He’s had our number many times, as well. I don’t really take much stock into that because each week’s a different week and each game that we play him is always a tough, competitive game. He’s a great quarterback, a great leader, can throw the ball anywhere and the game’s never over until that final gun goes off with him. It’s a sleepless week for me. It’s just tough playing a guy like that. He’s just so good – maybe one of the best that’s ever played the game.”
On Sunday at Lambeau Field, Rodgers will make his 10th career regular-season start against Zimmer’s Vikings. The Packers are 4-4-1 in those games, a record that includes Rodgers missing most of the 2017 game at Minnesota with a broken collarbone. He’s been off-the-charts good with 15 touchdowns vs. two interceptions, but he’s also completed only 63.2 percent of his passes.
Rodgers has had some big games, with 281 yards in last year’s overtime tie and 347 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-25 win at Lambeau Field in 2016. Zimmer’s also had some big games. In last year’s game in Minneapolis, the Vikings won 24-17 by limiting Rodgers to 198 yards. In Rodgers’ last five full games against the Vikings, he’s been sacked at least four times in each game.
Zimmer is one of the most-respected coaches of the era – Rodgers calls him an “innovator” in the video – but it also helps to have excellent talent. Six members of his defense have been to a Pro Bowl. There is star power at each level of the unit.
“Yeah, it’s kind of the same,” Rodgers said when relayed Zimmer’s “sleepless” line. “He’s a great coach. I have a ton of respect for Mike Zimmer and what’s he’s done in this league. I love his demeanor. I have a lot of respect for him and the way him and his staff have gone about their business over the years. He obviously presents a really difficult challenge and an even greater challenge when you look at the personnel he’s got to work with, the number of Pro Bowlers on that side of the ball. It’s a tough week. You definitely think about all the different things they can do.”