With the draft now over, all eyes now turn to the Midwest as the war between Aaron Rodgers and the front office of the Green Bay Packers has only begun. Rodgers wants out and might want GM Brian Gutekunst fired. The team wants to fix whatever issues he has with them and will leave a trade as the last possible resort, and even then still may not pull the trigger.
It's a stand-off, really. Rodgers doesn't have to show up for work but won't get paid if he doesn't, and while threatening to retire outright is certainly an effective, he's the reigning MVP. It would be unprecedented and the Packers will probably feel confident calling his bluff.
The problem is that there doesn't seem to be an easy fix to the problem, even if the report about Rodgers' desire to see Gutekunst gone ends up being true. Green Bay has pissed off their future Hall of Famer royally through a series of decisions made over the last 12 months. There isn't any one thing that was the catalyst. It was a gradual build-up of frustration, likely brought to a boiling point when Rodgers wasn't trusted to score a TD in crunch time of the NFC Championship Game and once again missed out on a chance to appear in the Super Bowl.
We can feel rather confident about what decision started this whole saga: the selection of Jordan Love. The Packers traded up to pick Rodgers' replacement while he still has a few good years left at the expense of improving his supporting cast. It doesn't help that picking Love was the first time in the decade Green Bay picked an offensive player in the first round of the draft. It may go down as the worst decision in draft history if Rodgers cannot be placated.
But the threads of fate in the NFL weave oh so delicately. Ian Rapoport piled on to Packers fans today when he reported that Green Bay was targeting Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk, but settled for Love when those two went before their pick in the late 20s.
This could be an attempt by Green Bay brass to get some positive PR going, to be sure. Everybody likes to talk about how they wanted the good guys in the draft in retrospect. It feels like we've already heard half of the league's decision-makers talk about how highly-rated they had Patrick Mahomes but didn't pick him for one reason or the other.
But if this is, in fact, the true recounting of what occurred in Green Bay's war room in April 2020, the Vikings should be feeling mighty pleased with themselves. Nobody understands the greatness of Rodgers quite like the teams in his division who have to see him twice a year. Even when the Packers weren't dominant, he crushed playoff hopes and broke hearts year after year for each of the opposing NFC North rivals.
But here we have some evidence to suggest that the Vikings played a significant role in the fracturing of his relationship with the front office. If the Packers end up with Jefferson, who had over 1,000 yards as a rookie, they very well might be reigning Super Bowl champions. Rodgers almost certainly isn't as displeased as he is right now even if they don't win a ring, simply by virtue of the fact that his team tried to help him instead of replace him.
Much like real vikings, the football Vikings sabotaged their foes and left nothing but scorched earth behind.