Robert Greenfield of the long-time fan site Packer Ranter was kind enough, once again, to come over here and chat about the upcoming game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Aaron’s.
(Oh, and there’s always a fair amount of smack talk when Packer Ranter is invited to the table.)
I asked Greenfield to answer five questions below and by reading the answers you’ll learn that Aaron Rodgers has simply been drunk these last three weeks, just how much more productive our rookie class has been than theirs, and just how disappointed Packers fans will be when Teddy Bridgewater starts lighting them up.
ADAM: The obvious elephant in the room is that the Packers are on a three game slide and playing some pretty ugly, relatively speaking, football. Can you talk a little bit about what factors have been involved with these three losses and what solutions the team might try to employ in Minnesota?
ROBERT: It’s as though they went on a two-week bender and were still hungover last week. A good night’s sleep and a strong cup of coffee should sufficiently wake them up. Rodgers has always been a master of improvisation and there’s a chance he’s been boxed in by some vanilla play calling. Giving him more freelance ability with the secondary playmakers will keep defenses guessing and frustrated before #12 drops the hammer.
ADAM: Prior to the season, I’m on record saying that Eddie Lacy being on that Packers roster is just plain unfair. As it turns out, Lacy’s year is going pretty poorly and Green Bay is looking fairly one-dimensional on offense these days. Is that a fair assessment and how is that impacting Aaron Rodgers?
ROBERT: While it’s not ideal, Lacy’s short history has indicated he may be a slow starter. Couple that with an injury and the numbers speak for themselves. Starks is a very capable backup but brings a different set of skills to the scheme, probably resulting in more week-to-week adjustments on offense than preferred. That being said, I don’t know it impacts Rodgers that much. I mean, he won the MVP in 2011 when the team was 28th in rushing. He hasn’t played his greatest, but his receivers outside of Cobb and James Jones are relatively young and inexperienced, as well. Some struggles are to be expected. As they mature and gain Rodgers’ trust, the offense will get exponentially better sooner rather than later.
ADAM: Can you tell Vikings fans a bit about Green Bay’s 2015 rookie class? I’d like to get your perspective on which rookies are contributing to the success of the team and which have been underwhelming.
ROBERT: In typical draft-and-develop fashion, we picked up some supporting cast members in Rounds 1-3 and depth the rest of the way. You’ll want to pay attention to our first pick especially, Damarious Randall, who has already saved our behinds more than once in the secondary. Ty Montgomery, our return guy and WR, appears to be healthy enough to contribute in a variety of ways. Quinten Rollins is real intriguing ball hawk with upside in the secondary. He’s actually a former college basketball player who was his conference’s defensive player of the year his senior year – the only year he played college football. There’s a chance you might see John Kuhn’s potential successor and fellow redhead, Aaron Ripowski, aka “The Ripper.” Jake Ryan of “Sixteen Candles” fame is also an intriguing middle linebacker to watch – if not this season, then the next.
ADAM: The Vikings have really had a hard time getting Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater both into rhythm at the same time. By that, I mean that the offense has yet to fire on all cylinders in 2015. This Dom Capers defense has had ups and downs this season, and I’m wondering if you think the Vikings are most likely to find success through the air or on the ground?
ROBERT: Ha! I mean, what do you think? Despite his decent weapons, if Teddy has above-average success through the air it would probably be a surprise to everyone. #5 is still growing but you have to wonder if there’s much ceiling left to reach? Of course it’s the ground game that’s the concern. Even though we’ve won the majority of the matchups, Peterson has almost single-handedly kept you in the game. If he’s semi-contained, I don’t see you winning through the air.
ADAM: Look, I understand that divisional games are always hard-fought, and they can be as unpredictable as they are difficult to win. Still, the Green Bay fans seem to be taking last week’s loss to the Lions particularly hard. To those fans that seem to think the sky is falling in Wisconsin, what message would you like to relay?
ROBERT: At 6-3, many other teams would gladly trade to be in our shoes. That said, we’ve set the bar high and expect more. Fans should know the upside of this team by now and that if we get into the playoffs, there’s a helluva a good chance we can make this season special. Go troll your boat somewhere else.
BONUS: Have a prediction for the outcome of Sunday’s game?
ROBERT: Hard-fought 27-20 Packers victory.
Then, in a surprised twist, Robert decided to turn the tables and sling a question back at me.
ROBERT: If the Vikings were sitting at .500 or below at this point, what would be the initial monetary offer to Ragnar to come back and save the Vikings’ season?
ADAM: Unlike the Packers, the Vikings are not that dependent on any individual, nor do we live in “What If” Land and dwell on the past. The fact is that we currently sit atop the NFC North and the Minnesota Vikings, not the Green Bay Packers, are the present and motivated to place Green Bay firmly in the past.