LaFleur views him as the toughest defender to read, which can make it hard to decipher exactly what front or coverage call the Vikings are in at any given time.
“His ability to disguise – shoot, there’s sometimes he’s on the line of scrimmage, then he’s going to play a post, middle-third on the snap of the ball,” LaFleur said. “They just communicate well together.
“They do a great job keeping the ball in front of them. It’s hard to get explosive plays.”
Receiver Davante Adams added that gaining greater familiarity over the years with all of Smith’s tricks and different alignments has helped the Packers not get thrown off as much in recent seasons. But the challenge of making the right route and protection decisions on the fly never goes away.
Rodgers’ history against Zimmer actually goes back to two games while Zimmer was the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Neither went well for the Packers, with Rodgers posting sub-85 passer ratings in both contests (2009, ’13) and Green Bay losing.
Since Zimmer became the head coach at Minnesota in 2014, though, Rodgers has found a lot more success.
Not including the two games in 2017 (Rodgers broke his collarbone early in the first and missed the second), Rodgers has gone 7-4-1 against Zimmer’s Vikings, throwing 24 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. He’s had six games with a 100-plus passer rating and two more at 90-plus.