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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Rodgers’ run to playoffs adds to sting for Vikings

By Matthew Coller

Remember back in September when the Minnesota Vikings opened up brand new US Bank Stadium on national TV with a win against the Green Bay Packers? Remember when Sam Bradford lit up Green Bay’s secondary with laser beams to Stefon Diggs and Minnesota’s front four chased Aaron Rodgers all over the field? Remember when Trae Waynes picked off Rodgers to end the game?

Me either.

A few hours after the Vikings completed their regular season with a meaningless win over the Chicago Bears, Rodgers tore apart the Detroit Lions to the tune of 300 yards and four touchdowns.

Just four weeks ago, both the Packers and the Vikings’ locker rooms said they believed they could run the table to make the playoffs. Minnesota lost two of the four while Rodgers did this:

Aaron Rodgers while running the table (6-0 finish): 142/200 for 1,667 yards, 15 TDs, 0 INTs, 121.0 passer rating.

— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) January 2, 2017

Of course, the Vikings’ defense contributed to those video game numbers.

In making his case for the MVP by putting the team on his back and throwing them to victory week after week, Rodgers reminded us of something important: The best quarterbacks in the NFL can overcome just about anything.

Heading into the Sunday night matchup with the Lions, the Packers ranked third worst in the NFL in yards per play allowed by their defense. Opposing quarterbacks posted a terrific 95.3 when throwing against the Green Bay secondary. Only the Cleveland Browns gave up more touchdown passes.

And none of that really mattered because Rodgers just played better. He simply put up more yards per play, a better rating and more touchdowns than his defense allowed.

The Vikings will walk home thinking about all the things that worked against them. They will ask, “What if Blair Walsh made one more extra point?” And, “What if we tried someone else at left tackle?”

The Packers will walk into the playoffs knowing that a bunch of things went wrong for them this season like losing their top cornerback Sam Shields and being forced to play a wide receiver at running back after Eddie Lacy and James Starks went down. They overcame it because of Rodgers.

So what’s the point? You all know Rodgers is a freak show.

It’s that offense still rules the day, even with the Denver Broncos raising a Lombardi Trophy last year predominantly on the back of great defensive performances. Before Week 17, the Vikings ranked 30th in yards per play. The bottom eight teams in yards per play will all be playing golf this year, including the Broncos. Stretch that to the bottom half of the league and only one of worst 15 teams in yards per play ended up with a playoff berth (Detroit and Kansas City tied for 16th).

On defense, the NFL’s four best in yards per play heading into the final week will miss the post season.

The Vikings can’t go out and pick up Aaron Rodgers this offseason, but their sole focus should be on getting into the top of the league in offensive efficiency. If it means more money thrown at the offensive line, a different coordinator, more weapons – whatever. They cannot win simply hoping Mike Zimmer’s defense will slow down the likes of Rodgers.

The post Rodgers’ run to playoffs adds to sting for Vikings appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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