The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers to a broken right collarbone in the first quarter, when Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr knocked him to the ground after Rodgers threw a pass to Martellus Bennett. The Packers have suffered injuries along their offensive line, and the loss of three starters in their defensive backfield. You can account their 4-1 start largely in part because they had Rodgers. With Rodgers, their MVP quarterback out, their offense looked dazed and unable to do much of anything.
Injuries have devastated the Minnesota Vikings season plans, too. They had to start Case Keenum for the fourth time this season on Sunday, as Sam Bradford’s left knee troubles kept him out again. Their quarterback situation is about to be exciting again, with Teddy Bridgewater expected to be cleared for practice this week and Bradford’s status uncertain. The Vikings already lost dynamic rookie running back Dalvin Cook for the season, and they played Sunday without three more starters: star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, guard Nick Easton and safety Andrew Sendejo
The Packers offense managed only 227 yards of total offense, converting just 14 first downs the entire games. They had a touchdown overturned when a replay showed Ty Montgomery hadn’t controlled the ball as he stretched out for the end zone. To makes things worse for the Packers, they were unable to challenge a third-quarter Keenum throw to McKinnon after coach Mike McCarthy had already spent the Packers’ two challenges.
With Rodgers out indefinitely, the Bears rebuilding and the Detroit Lions struggle in recent games, the NFC North is anyone’s for the taking. Vikings might emerge in January with the flag between their teeth after all.
With any luck, the Vikings might emerge in January with the Division title after all.