Post-Favre era unkind to Vikings quarterbacks
Brett Favre hasn't played a down of professional football in nearly four years. But the decisions the Packers and Vikings made to fill the void left by his departure continue to impact how they rank in a key statistical measure: team passer rating differential.
"Replacing a Legend 101" is not a course offered at any college or university. Even if it were, Green Bay and Minnesota could not have learned from any book what they did when confronted with the retirement of a gifted superstar.
The Packers chose to move on with Aaron Rodgers as their preferred starter at quarterback. Only injury and the luxury of not needing to be exposed to that risk have kept No. 12 from taking the initial snap from center.
The Vikings have not been so fortunate. They simply would prefer to find a reliable starter, having auditioned five in that role since 2011 — Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman and rookie Teddy Bridgewater — often with less-than-satisfactory results.
So goes the post-Favre era. And it has deposited these rivals at opposite ends of the ratings game.
Admittedly, team passer rating differentials entail more than the play of quarterbacks. The statistic is a measure of offense and defense, so many factors are present.
But quarterbacks have a say in how the numbers shake out. When those distributing passes are consistently compiling ratings above 100, it's all but given their team is on the positive side of the ledger.
Look no further than the Packers. Their differential of 26.6 since 2008 is the greatest in the league. It's hard not to notice the impact Rodgers and his backups have made with their passer rating of 103.9 over that span.
That said, we'll only consider what's transpired since 2011. That was the first year Minnesota was without Favre, and to use that as a starting point will allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.
In the past four years, Green Bay's quarterbacks have compiled an NFL-best 108.76 rating. Combine that with a defense at 83.43, and the team's passer rating differential is without peer at 25.33.
Minnesota's passers clock in at a more modest 75.75, ahead of only the Jaguars (70.81) and Jets (70.85). Factor in a league-low 98.25 defensive rating and the Vikings bring up the rear in passer rating differential at minus-22.50.
Week after week, the Packers win the ratings game. They've posted higher numbers than the competition in 42 of their last 58 regular-season games.
Week after week, the Vikings produce ratings that would get a sitcom canceled. Opponents have outpointed them in 43 of their last 58 outings.
Big numbers intrigue you? Green Bay has soared above 115 on 25 occasions.
More of a low roller? The Vikings have failed to break 80 in 30 instances.
Four categories make up passer rating. Green Bay resides near the top in each and is first in yards per attempt (8.39) and touchdown percentage (7.2).
They Vikings are strictly bottom 10. Their best showing is in completion percentage (59.13) and interception percentage (3.19).
Green Bay likes to stretch the field. It has completed 59 passes of 40 or more yards, including 12 this year.
Minnesota pinches pennies, dialing long distance more sparingly. Its 22 completions of that length are fewer than all but the Chiefs (21).
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the gap between the Packers and Vikings is to take a glance at their last seven meetings. Green Bay has claimed the higher passer rating six times.
The Packers have thrown more TD passes (18-7) and fewer interceptions (2-7). They have fashioned a far greater completion percentage (70.95-53.27) and average gain per attempt (8.52-6.36).
Crunch the numbers and the Green and Gold's passer rating (118.14) outdistances that of the Purple and White (70.27) by 47.87 points. It's the biggest gap between any teams in the NFC North Division over these past four years.
The Packers have the best passer rating differential (35.8) again this season. The Vikings (-24.1) are behind everyone but the Jaguars (-24.9), Raiders (-25.5) and Jets (-40.4).
THE GREAT DIVIDE
Teams with the best and worst team passer rating differentials since 2011.
Overall: Green Bay leads 56-48-2.
At TCF Bank Stadium: This is the teams' first meeting at the venue.
Packers: Aaron Rodgers (65-32 overall; 8-4 vs. Minnesota).
Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater (3-3; 0-0 vs. Green Bay).
Once a Viking, now a Packer
Defensive tackle Letroy Guion (2008-13).
Once a Packer, now a Viking
Wide receiver Greg Jennings (2006-12). Receiver Charles Johnson spent part of the 2013 on the team's practice squad.