The NFC North is watching in awe as the Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers 16-year relationship spirals.
Where Rodgers lands or if he decides to retire remains to be seen, but his standoff with the Packers harkens back to Brett Favre’s departure from Green Bay over a decade ago.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio spoke with Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman about the situation and took a flattery comment Spielman made as a gesture for the future Hall of Famer to make his way across the border.
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Spielman Gives Rodgers Rousing Compliment
In the interview with Florio, Spielman offered Rodgers the highest form of flattery with the 2020 NFL MVP’s future in the league in question.
“You always read things and stuff like that,” Spielman told Pro Football Talk earlier this week when asked whether and to what extent he’s followed Rodgers’ situation. “Aaron Rodgers is maybe the best quarterback who has ever played this game, and I’m never going to talk about anyone else’s players. One, I’m not allowed to. It’s illegal. But you just always look at different situations. The most important thing is evaluating us and our decisions, and if we do make mistakes, how do we correct them or what will we do differently. If something works out, great… My main focus here is on the Minnesota Vikings.”
Florio entertained the idea of Rodgers following the same path as Brett Favre, who played a year away in the AFC with New York Jets after a fallout with the Packers before leading the Vikings to the NFC title game in 2008.
Here’s Florio’s takeaway from Spielman’s statement:
Still, if Spielman regards Rodgers as “maybe the best quarterback who has ever played the game,” one or more people in the Minnesota organization (including Spielman) surely have their fingers crossed, hopeful that the Packers will indeed trade Rodgers out of the conference.
And then, maybe after he’s traded out of the conference, he’ll be cut following one year with a new team and then sign with the Vikings. But something like that could never happen with the best quarterback in Packers history.
Florio raised the more realistic and short-term results of what could happen — Rodgers leaving the NFC North in 2021 — while also ironically teasing a similar dream scenario that Vikings fans enjoyed over a decade ago with Favre.
Spielman Pours Gasoline on Packers-Rodgers Feud
In the modern NFL where few players wear the same colors the entirety of their careers, both of Florio’s points are within the realm of possibility.
However, Spielman has his eyes on the 2021 season. The immaculate compliment he gave Rodgers serves one purpose this offseason: boosting Rodgers’ ego even more in the midst of a standoff with the Packers organization.
Rodgers is feeling the pull of potential teams around the league that want his talents, which is bound to cause even more animosity within the organization that holds the future Hall of Famer hostage at the moment.
Rodgers has demanded Green Bay either trade him or fire fourth-year general manager Brian Gutekunst after the organization had not included him in many of its plans the past two seasons — including drafting his future replacement, Jordan Love, in the first round last year.
Back in 2008, the Packers accused the Vikings of tampering with Favre when he asked for his release in coming out of retirement and crossing the border to Minnesota.
In 2021, Spielman confirmed the Vikings, at the very least, are content watching another fallout safely from afar.