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DeMeco Ryans' Incredible Audition for Vikings' Head Coach Vacancy Helps 49ers Upset Packers

Now the future of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is once again uncertain.
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There was a lot for Vikings fans to like about the 49ers' stunning 13-10 upset over the top-seeded Packers at Lambeau Field on Saturday night.

Obviously, fans tend to enjoy it when their biggest rival loses. But this wasn't just any loss. The Packers were the clear favorites in the NFC after another 13-win regular season. They were all in on this season. And they lost in excruciating fashion — done in by a blocked field goal, a blocked punt, and a last-second game-winning field goal in the snow. It was the latest bit of playoff heartbreak for a team that hasn't been able to get over the hump since Aaron Rodgers' lone Super Bowl victory 11 years ago.

Even more significant for the Vikings is what the loss could mean for the Packers' future. There's a possibility that it was the last time Rodgers, Davante Adams, and other key players suit up in a Green Bay uniform. For a second consecutive year, Rodgers will take some time away from the game to ponder his future. Returning to the Packers is an option, but so are retirement and requesting a trade. He said he doesn't want to be part of a rebuild, but the Packers are in a brutal salary cap situation heading into this offseason. Adams is a free agent. Rodgers not being a Packer next season feels more realistic than it did a year ago.

The other big takeaway from Saturday night is that the man who shut down Rodgers could end up as the Vikings' next head coach. First-year 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans put together a brilliant game plan and it was executed to perfection. After marching down the field for a touchdown on their opening possession, the Packers' offense didn't do much for the rest of the night. One of the NFL's elite offenses was held to 263 yards, 75 of which came on one blown coverage against running back Aaron Jones. The Packers had 58 yards in the entire second half, going three-and-out on three out of four possessions.

Ryans was simply incredible. The 49ers mixed up their looks, coverages, and pressures all night, flummoxing Rodgers into a tough evening. Aside from the big play to Jones, Rodgers had just 150 passing yards with no touchdowns on 28 attempts. He was sacked five times. Adams still finished with 9 catches for 90 yards, but the 49ers did a good job limiting his ability to be effective by throwing multiple defenders at him in various ways.

Less than 24 hours later, Ryans interviewed with the Vikings. He would've been within reason to show up to the videoconference, say "watch the tape from last night," throw out a couple names he's interested in at offensive coordinator, and then leave the meeting.

In all seriousness, you have to imagine Ryans is near the top of the Vikings' list, and not just because of one game. The 49ers shined against the Cowboys last weekend too and have had a strong defense all year. Ryans, a former standout linebacker in the NFL for a decade, is a rising star in the coaching ranks at 37 years old. This is just his fifth year in coaching and first as a coordinator, but it's clear he's destined to be a head coach. Ryans is an amazing defensive mind, and more importantly, he's a steadying force and a natural leader.

He made a pretty strong case for himself on Saturday night.

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