Despite Aaron Rodgers having one of his best games of the season, the Green Bay Packers are exiting Week 11 with a momentum-halting loss in hand. The Minnesota Vikings defeated them 34-31, snatching a crucial divisional win in the process.
It’s the Packers’ third loss of the season, dropping them to an 8-3 record. They’re still in firm control of the NFC North as things currently stand.
Aaron Rodgers’ big performance wasn’t enough for the Packers
During the Packers’ Week 10 victory over Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, it looked like Rodgers was experiencing a bit of rust after missing a game due to the NFL’s health and safety policy. He went 23-of-37 for 292 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception.
The Packers still won the NFC showdown due to a struggling Seahawks offense. However, there were some quiet concerns Rodgers was starting to slow down just a tad after a red-hot start to the season. A bout with COVID-19 has proven to derail player performance for days, weeks, and even months in the past.
However, such an outcome was not the case against Minnesota. Rodgers exploded back onto the scene with 385 passing yards, four touchdowns, and zero touchdowns. He and wide receiver Davante Adams were firing on all cylinders from start to finish.
Unfortunately for the Packers, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense were just as dominant. Cousins finished the afternoon with 341 passing yards and three touchdowns. Justin Jefferson accounted for 169 of those yards and two of those touchdowns. It was a back-and-forth affair all game, only settled by the Vikings receiving the ball last and kicking a game-winning field goal.
The Packers suffered more than one loss on the day
While a divisional loss always stings, the Packers suffered more than one loss on the afternoon, with the second one being far more impactful.
Starting offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins left the game early due to a knee injury. The Packers currently fear it’s a torn ACL, which would sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Jenkins is a massive part of the Packers’ offensive line and one of the top reasons Rodgers consistently finds himself standing in a clean pocket. Jenkins has proven versatile enough to bounce all over the line playing different positions. This season, he’s started seven games at left guard for Green Bay.
If Jenkins has, in fact, suffered a torn ACL, it will be a massive loss for the Packers offense. Replacing him is essentially impossible, especially with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror.
Aaron Rodgers ‘Last Dance’ is in jeopardy
Before the 2021 NFL season, Rodgers referred to the campaign as his version of Michael Jordan’s “Last Dance.” From the outside looking in, it appeared Rodgers would chase one final ring with the Packers before moving on to a different team.
With Jenkins potentially out for the rest of the season, this goal is in serious jeopardy.
The Packers are going to be significant playoff players in the NFC regardless. They already have eight wins this season. However, navigating past the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and even the Dallas Cowboys with a hobbled offensive line would be challenging for any organization.
Rodgers’ dream of capturing one final Super Bowl with the Packers is in major jeopardy.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.