The Green Bay Packers improved to 12-3 by beating the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. With that, they celebrated winning the NFC North championship.
It's a season nobody saw coming in the first season under coach Matt LaFleur. A key, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, was buying into what LaFleur was selling. Critical in that was Rodgers and Za'Darius Smith, the team's biggest free-agent acquisition, spreading the gospel.
"Z was a big one," Rodgers said as part of the full answer in the video associated with this story. "I think, like I told him the first day that we talked, he really needed, I think, myself and Z to be deep in his corner to get this thing where it goes. And that’s not some pat on my back. That’s just what a head coach (needs). He just needed the leaders to believe in him and to spread that message to the squad. Z and I are really close, as well, which helps"
Rodgers didn't have his finest performance against the Vikings but he led the offense to two touchdowns in span of three possessions in the second half. Smith was tremendous, with 3.5 sacks and five tackles for losses to lead a dominant defensive effort that limited the Vikings to just 139 yards.
“It seemed like he was unblockable,” LaFleur said. “Can’t say enough about him, not only as a player, but as a leader and just how he totally embraces the team concept, how he takes these young guys under his wing and is a good example for them. He’s been a huge addition to this football team.”