Welcome to the younger version.
The Vikings experienced the burn of Rodgers’ ability to break the pocket, extend the play and hit receivers down the field (or all the way into the end zone). Russell Wilson has that same ability for the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings’ opponent on Sunday.
“(They are) a lot similar mainly because of that on-the-run pass,” Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. “Him and Aaron Rodgers are the only two that I can truly think of that can throw touchdowns from the 50-yard line on the run and 80-yard bombs whenever he’s ready. We’ve just got to be on our keys and play fast and hard.”
Floyd didn’t want to look back at that Nov. 22 game against the Packers as he prepares for the Seahawks. Perhaps there is good reason for that dismissiveness. It was easily the Vikings’ biggest loss of the season, both in the point spread and the importance of their divisional hopes.
The Vikings had beaten their other NFC North rivals (Chicago once and Detroit twice) earlier in the season, but even when with the Vikings coming in with a five-game winning streak and the Packers on a three-game skid, Rodgers threw two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Green Bay win.
Two of the most hurtful passes for the Vikings came when Rodgers escaped the pocket, including a 27-yard touchdown to James Jones at the start of the fourth quarter to give Green Bay a 27-13 lead.
Wilson poses many of the same threats as Rodgers.
“He’s a great quarterback. We’ve got to keep him in the pocket, keep him looking downfield,” Floyd said of Wilson. “That’s what’s best for our defensive line. Outside of that, him moving outside of that pocket and moving around, that’s what makes him great and we can’t let him do that.”
Wilson is just one of three players with a passer rating over 99 (he’s at 99.5 for his career) since 2012. He has thrown 90 touchdowns, fifth-most in NFL history in a player’s first 59 games, and his 42 wins are the most in NFL history in the first 59 games of a quarterback’s career.
Last year, Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to record 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game.
Still, no quarterback this year has been sacked as much as Wilson (37 times), although he has only been sacked six times in the last four games.
“He’s pretty darn good right now,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He throws the ball deep well. He throws the quicks good, obviously the bootlegs and the scrambles and things like that. He’s pretty darn good.”
The Vikings will find out Sunday if Wilson is Aaron Rodgers good.