Vikings expecting to face Rodgers

The Associated Press
Genaro C. Armas

GREEN BAY, Wis.–Minnesota Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer isn’t buying it.
The Green Bay Packers can say all they want that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is day-to-day with a knee injury. The two-time NFL MVP will be given the whole week to get ready for this Sunday’s game against Minnesota, coach Mike McCarthy said.
“Yeah, well, you know he walks on water so I’m sure he’s going to play,” Zimmer said yesterday in a conference call.
Green Bay returned to the practice field yesterday, though Rodgers did not participate and stayed at Lambeau Field to rehab.
Asked at his locker if it was accurate to say his injury was a sprained knee, Rodgers replied, “Sure . . . say sprained knee.”
Wearing a brace could be an option, depending on how the quarterback feels later in the week.
If he can’t go, the Packers would turn to backup DeShone Kizer, who accounted for two turnovers after coming in when Rodgers got hurt in the second quarter on Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.
“Haven’t even thought about that,” Rodgers said when asked if he had confidence in Kizer if the backup needed to start.
So it’s understandable why Zimmer and the Vikings think Rodgers will play. After all, Rodgers returned from injury on Sunday after being taken to the locker-room on the front seat of a cart.
Rodgers walked back out halftime, took over on the first series of the second half, and threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally the Packers from 20 points down to a 24-23 victory.
He said after the game that while he had to undergo more tests, he planned on playing against Minnesota.
Rehabbing yesterday was not a setback, McCarthy said.
“I think anytime a player comes off a game where he’s injured, obviously there’s the hope of playing,” McCarthy noted.
“We’ll give him the whole week to get ready,” he added. “So we’ll take it day by day and learn as we go.”
Rodgers said he was feeling progressively better over the last couple days, though still sore.
The 14-year veteran said he does not need to practice to play.
“I mean every practice is important,” receiver Davante Adams said. “But . . . two days is not going to make or break whether [we have] success, whether it’s me and DeShone, me and Aaron, whoever it may be.”
Rodgers has played before with an injured left knee. He tore the ACL in his knee in high school, and played with the injury for four years before having surgery while in college at California.
He also had a clean-up procedure on the knee a few years ago by the Packers’ team doctor.
“So I know what it feels like to play with something like this, and hopefully I’ll be at the point where I can [play] on Sunday,” Rodgers said.
He described how he was cleared to play by the team doctor at halftime against the Bears so long as he could “deal with the pain.”
There were a couple throws in which Rodgers said he got a “jolt” of pain after putting weight on his left leg.
“It’s super painful, and you’ve just got to suck it up and play through it,” Rodgers said at his locker.
“To be in this room, you’ve got to be mentally and physical tough.”
If Rodgers does play, it would be his first game against the Vikings since the two-time MVP broke his right collarbone following a hit from Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr last Oct. 15.
The injury limited Rodgers to seven games last season.
“We know he’s playing,” Vikings’ defensive end Everson Griffen said.