Vikings win pours salt in the wound for Aaron Rodgers’ NFC North prediction

It turns out someone besides the Green Bay Packers may win the NFC North after all, because so far, the Minnesota Vikings lead with a 4-1 record. 

Before the season kicked off, Aaron Rodgers laughed at the idea that anyone besides the Packers thinks they can conquer the NFC North.

Funnily enough, the joke’s on Rodgers so far this season. Any Vikings fan who believed this year was their year has been proven right so far: the Vikings lead the division with a 4-1 record. The Packers are behind at 3-2, the Bears are 2-3, and the Lions are at a distant 1-4.

The fact that Rodgers said this only added fuel to a fiery Week 1 matchup between the Packers and Vikings, where Za’Darius Smith checked Rodgers in a failed block attempt. That image of Za’Darius owning Rodgers has become a representation of the 2022 season so far, and their status by Week 5 at the very least. The Packers suffered an embarrassing loss to the Giants in London, where the Packers fumbled a 20-10 lead in the first half to zero offensive points in the second.

“We need to handle adversity a little better. We’re a little bit of a roller-coaster team at times,” Rodgers said of his team following the loss.

Meanwhile, the Vikings beat up on the Bears in a 29-22 victory, which especially helps in regards to potential playoff tiebreakers. So far, the Vikings have defeated three NFC North teams and the New Orleans Saints, which puts them in an ideal position to make Rodgers regret his preseason scoff.

Vikings win makes Packers loss that much worse for Aaron Rodgers prediction

It makes sense that Rodgers would be fairly confident in his ability to lead the division, as he is coming off two consecutive MVP seasons and has been in an ideal position during recent playoff runs.

But Rodgers overestimated just how much his team would be able to click in the first few weeks, and he also underestimated the moves the Vikings have made to prime themselves for a takeover.

Rodgers lost Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, causing the Packers to lean more on rookie wideouts and their run game. As talented of a passer as Rodgers is, the absence of Adams is palpable. Adams was his go-to wideout, and without him, the Packers are struggling to compensate for his loss.

It’s an entirely different story for the Vikings, who are continuing to put Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson on full display.

Jefferson already has 393 receiving yards this season, and while it may not be enough to break Cooper Kupp’s record, he just might break his own personal NFL single-season record. The success of the Vikings offense is a credit to new head coach Kevin O’Connell, as well as the addition of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

While the Packers remained stagnant in their offseason acquisitions, led by an elite quarterback with inflated expectations, the Vikings took a drastic, realistic approach.

Rodgers is right: the NFC North has been his to claim. But the Vikings got the message and finally made bold decisions to become a more competitive unit, and they’ve proven to be the superior team so far. The only team they lost to was the Philadelphia Eagles, who have since become the No. 1 ranked NFL team.

Too many mental mistakes,” Rodgers said following the Week 1 loss, blaming all of his teammates with specific examples. One of them was doubting the Vikings before the game began.

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