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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Should the Vikings be rooting for Aaron Rodgers to play?

By Matthew Coller

Monday night’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could determine whether Aaron Rodgers will be under center for the Green Bay Packers on Saturday when they play the Vikings at Lambeau Field.

If the Falcons win, the Packers will be eliminated from the playoffs, meaning Rodgers could sit the rest of the year in order to allow his collarbone to completely heal.

Reports indicated that Rodgers’ collarbone was not fully healed when he took the field in a loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. It would make sense for the Packers’ superstar quarterback to avoid risking further injury.

Of course, there is always a chance Rodgers could play regardless of playoff seeding in hopes of enacting revenge against the team that injured him back in Week 6.

“I feel like he’s going to play,” defensive tackle Linval Joseph said Monday. “He’s got something to prove and I kind of want him to play because it’d be more of a challenge.”

There’s an argument to be made for the Vikings wanting Rodgers under center.

Clearly the Cincinnati Bengals weren’t any type of challenge and it would be surprising if the 4-10 Chicago Bears put up a huge fight in Week 17.

Facing off with Rodgers would give the Vikings one final tune up before they head into the playoffs. They passed most of this year’s toughest tests with wins against the Saints, Rams and Falcons, but the last game against a playoff-caliber team resulted in a 31-24 loss.

When it comes to the postseason, the Vikings are certain to face elite quarterbacks. Even with Carson Wentz injured, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson appear to be in line for playoff spots. That’s three league MVPs and possibly this season’s MVP.

Otherwise the final three QBs matching up against the Vikings will be Andy Dalton, Brett Hundley and Mitch Trubisky. Those are preseason matchups in comparison.

That’s the case for hoping Rodgers plays.

The case against it is more compelling: Playoff position.

The Vikings aren’t likely to gain hold of the No. 1 seed over Philadelphia, but winning out puts them in line to win the No. 2 seed and gain a first-round bye.

Certainly Minnesota could beat anyone with their No. 2 ranked defense, but Rodgers makes that a much tougher challenge than Hundley, who threw three INTs against the Vikings when he entered for Rodgers. Losing at Lambeau would then require the Panthers to lose one of their final two games in order for the Vikings to still have the first-round bye.

Health is also a factor. The Vikings were able to take out key starters – including Case Keenum – against the Bengals on Sunday. If Hundley plays, the opportunity may exist for more rest. When the Vikings missed several offensive linemen against Carolina they struggled mightily, giving up six sacks.

Not having Rodgers might cool tension between the two teams. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy crticized Anthony Barr’s hit that injured Rodgers.

The Vikings will say that it doesn’t matter who starts at QB, but fans should probably lean toward rooting for the Falcons to win and end the Packers’ chances.

The post Should the Vikings be rooting for Aaron Rodgers to play? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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