Rodgers owns the Vikings like no other

Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating above 100 for all three of his NFC North opponents, but his efficiency against the Vikings isn't just the best in the division or the NFL, it's currently a record in NFL history. See the stats vs. the Vikings, the NFC North, and the respect he garners from Vikings defenders.

Aaron Rodgers has had an impressive career to this point, but he can thank the Vikings for helping bolster his statistics and his pocketbook.

Not only did the Vikings (via the Jets) take Brett Favre out of Green Bay and clear the Rodgers runway with the call being made from Ted Thompson Tower, but since then the Vikings defense has been a boon to Rodgers' statistics.

Not only are the Vikings the NFC North team against which Rodgers has the highest passer rating (116.4) and the highest completion percentage (70.7), his mastery over Minnesota gets worse. In fact, historically bad from the Vikings' perspective.

Rodgers' 116.4 rating against the Vikings ranks No. 1 in NFL history (since the 1970 merger) versus a single opponent with a minimum of 250 attempts, according to Elias Sport Bureau. He has completed 232 of 328 passes for 2,840 yards, 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions against Minnesota.

"Without a doubt, he's one of the best in the league," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. "If you look at what he's done over the course of his career, if you look at things that he can do, not only with his arm but with his feet, he has to be one of those that every week you look at and you say, ‘This guy might be the best in the league.' … If you ask me, he's definitely one of the best, if not the best in the league."

While the Packers provided Christian Ponder with the best game of his career last year – when Ponder threw for 234 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and had a 120.2 rating – that is essentially Rodgers' average against the Vikings.

In 11 career games against the Vikings, Rodgers is averaging 258 yards passing, 2.2 touchdowns and 0.36 interceptions per game. He has a 7-4 record against Minnesota.

Vikings CB Chris Cook said Rodgers is the best quarterback he has faced.

"He gets the ball out of his hands fast. He has one of the quickest releases I've ever seen and he's just accurate," Cook said. "He puts the ball in spots that only the receiver can catch the ball."

It's not like the Vikings are in exclusive company when it comes to NFC North teams allowing him success. He has a 102.7 rating and 8-2 record against the Chicago Bears, and 111.0 rating and 9-1 record against the Detroit Lions. So, despite the Vikings having a historically bad pass defense against Rodgers, they have the best winning percentage against him, even if they are less than .500.

But Rodgers has posted a passer rating of at least 130 in four of his last five starts against Minnesota and had a stretch of three straight games (2010-11) versus the Vikings where his rating was above 140 – becoming the first NFL quarterback since the merger to accomplish that against one team.

This time, Rodgers will try to match his magic against Minnesota with a far different receiving corps. Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are all injured and Greg Jennings is with the Vikings.

"That's the thing with Rodgers. Jermichael is such a big part of their offense, but at the same time they are a quarterback-driven offense," Robison said. "… It just doesn't seem to matter who is out there with him. He just seems to be able to make play after play after play. He's just one of those guys that is very smart about the game, very smart about seeing coverages and stuff like that and being able to find outlets, no matter who they are."

Last year, Rodgers' most targeted receivers were Cobb (104 times), Jones (98) and Finley (87). He still has Jordy Nelson (73 targets last year) at his disposal and it's no surprise that the injuries to the others have made Nelson the top Rodgers target this year, with 32 catches on 46 targets.

But with Rodgers, the question is whether his receivers matter that much.

"There's still that one X-factor in the backfield, No. 12," Cook said. "He makes guys around him better and especially at the receiver spot. We've just got to go out and do our job and play assignment football."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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