How Did A.J. Green Fare against Minnesota?

On Monday afternoon, prolific NFL wide receiver A.J. Green hung up his cleats and called it quits. After an NFL career that spanned 11 seasons and saw Green work his way back from a 2019 ankle injury that kept him from participating, the former Georgia Bulldog has said goodbye to the league. For Vikings fans, they got to see him one last time in 2022.

A.J. Green’s career began in 2011 when the Cincinnati Bengals took him 4th overall out of Georgia. He was a dynamic talent for the Bulldogs, and his large frame, combined with speed and athleticism, allowed him to punish NFL cornerbacks. Only Cam Newton, Von Miller, and Marcell Dareus went ahead of him in that draft, and Miller is the only one to have a similar resume.

How Did A.J. Green Fare against Minnesota?

Green was one of just three wide receivers taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was joined by Julio Jones and Jonathan Baldwin, the latter of which hasn’t been in the NFL since 2013.

Throughout his career, Green played in 158 games split between the Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals. It was with the Bengals that he made seven straight Pro Bowls and elevated himself as one of the best pass catchers in the league.

Green Fare against
Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a touchdown pass in front of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) in the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports.

Playing against Minnesota for the first time in 2013, he let the Vikings know just how good he was. Hauling in seven targets during that contest, he was held short of 100 yards but did post two touchdowns in a game that Cincinnati won 42-14. Green wouldn’t face the Vikings again until four years later, and with Andy Dalton completing just 11 passes in a 34-7 rout, Minnesota came out on top.

After heading to the desert to play for the Cardinals, Green saw Minnesota in back-to-back seasons. He contributed just 44 yards in the one-point victory against the Mike Zimmer-led Vikings in 2021, but he did haul in a touchdown. This season, on the tail end of his career, Green drew just a single target and didn’t haul in a pass.

Looking at his career totals, it’s hard to suggest Green will be enshrined in Canton when eligible, but that’s not to make light of what accomplishments he racked up. The wideout added two second-team All-Pro honors to his Pro Bowl tally, and his 70 career touchdowns are nothing to make light of.

Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) against the New Orleans Saints at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Unfortunately, Green never saw the health or chemistry develop in Arizona with Kyler Murray, but as his career wound down, it was clear he could provide more of a mentorship role to the locker room than anything. The Cardinals brought Green back on a one-year deal worth $3 million last offseason, and facing free agency again, the 34-year-old decided to ride off into the sunset.

The Vikings don’t play the Cardinals for the first time in three years during 2023, but they will travel to Cincinnati and face off against Green’s former employer.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.