The entire complexion of the NFC playoff picture changed in Week 6, when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collar bone.
Rodgers rushed his way back and played last week at the Carolina Panthers, but threw three interceptions as Green Bay lost to Carolina 31-24. The Packers were officially eliminated from playoff contention after the Atlanta Falcons beat Tampa Bay Monday night.
So what does that mean for Rodgers the rest of the season?
The Packers made that decision for him on Tuesday. The team announced he has been placed on injured reserve, meaning he won’t play against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday night and his season is over. He missed seven games with the broken collar bone before attempting last week’s comeback at Carolina.
The Vikings clinched the NFC North title after beating the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Saturday’s game at Green Bay is only meaningful for the Vikings, who are looking to secure home field in the playoffs and a first-round bye.
Other than the revenge factor, the game means nothing for the Packers. All they can accomplish with a win is preventing the Vikings from playing more than one home playoff game.
The Packers re-signed quarterback Joe Callahan on Monday. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy told the media Monday that Rodgers was sore after taking a couple big hits against the Panthers, and wouldn’t commit to naming Rodgers the starter against the Vikings. That was, of course, before they were eliminated from the playoffs.
While Rodgers played admirably in his return, his three interceptions were also underthrown balls, likely because his surgically repaired collar bone isn’t 100 percent.
The Packers have ultimately decided it’s not worth risking further injury for Rodgers to come back and attempt revenge against the team he got injured against. The Packers would never hear the end of it from fans if they put Rodgers on the field in a meaningless game and either re-injured that collar bone or did something worse.
Brett Hundley is likely to be the starter Saturday night against the Vikings, and Joe Callahan will be his back-up.