Could a second disgruntled Green Bay Packers quarterback cross the border to wear purple and gold?
The Minnesota Vikings can only hope.
The recent ruminations of Aaron Rodgers‘ plead for his release and threatening retirement harkens back to a similar situation Brett Favre was in with the Packers. Favre worked his way out of Green Bay and landed briefly with the New York Jets before joining the Vikings and leading the team to the 2009 NFC Conference Championship.
While it seems unlikely this season, KFAN’s Justin Gaard reminded fans of the nature of Rodgers and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s relationship.
“There’s an open flirtation there,” Gaard said on KFAN on Friday night. “If Tinder was in the NFL, they’d be swiping whichever way you need to swipe for a match.”
Star Tribune reporter Ben Goessling agreed with Gaard but acknowledged the Packers’ unwillingness to trade Rodgers, especially to their border rival. The likely route Rodgers would take would be similar to Favre — by “AFC weigh station” before joining Minnesota. That would likely happen dependent on which direction the Vikings go after Kirk Cousins’ contract expires in 2022.
“Aaron Rodgers and Mike Zimmer have developed a lot of respect over the years facing each other,” Goessling said. “We’re a few years away from that being able to happen… If Zim is still around, if that ever came to a situation where the Vikings needed a quarterback and Aaron Rodgers needed a team, yes.”
The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!
Mike Zimmer & Aaron Rodgers’ Love Affair
Rodgers, the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, has made a living dissecting opposing defenses. But Vikings defensive mastermind Mike Zimmer has proven a formidable opponent in the chess game that’s taken place 13 times since 2014.
Before an abysmal 2020 season by the Vikings’ season that Zimmer admitted was the worst unit of his career, his defense had held Rodgers to just 226 passing yards in 2018 and 2019 — well below his career average of 260 yards.
When national media rumors questioned Zimmer’s job status after a 1-5 start heading into the Vikings’ Week 8 matchup with the Packers, Rodgers vehemently defended Zimmer.
“To see him mentioned on the hot seat in the league is absolutely crazy,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league and has been for a long time. They don’t all give you the trouble and the scheme that Mike does. I have a lot of respect for the way he coaches and the way he especially coaches defense.”
In 2019, Rodgers had similar sentiments for Zimmer, calling him “one of the best coaches in the league” and a “tactician on defense.” Zimmer called Rodgers “terrific and “extremely smart,” per Packers.com.
“Either me or him have to get out of this division at some point,” Zimmer said in a conference call with Green Bay media. “It’s too hard to go against him. He’s too damn good.
Rodgers Compares Vikings Defense to Legendary Bears Unit
In that same 2019 press conference with Packers media, Rodgers compared the cohesiveness and disguise of the Vikings defense akin to the Chicago Bears defense he faced early in his career.
“[Zimmer’s] going to throw a number of different things at you,” Rodgers said. “They’re as good with their disguise and their togetherness as the best Chicago Bears defenses that I faced over my time when they were rolling with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman…just the way they would play together from the front to the back end is the same way, the continuity they have.”
Zimmer’s defense troubling a veteran Rodgers the same way the Bears did over a decade ago is a telling sign of Zimmer’s innovation on defense.
Rodgers is still years away from a potential marriage in Minnesota. However, Favre’s roadmap and Zimmer’s interest in the future Hall of Famer could lead to history repeating itself.