"Either me or him have to get out of this division at some point," Zimmer quipped in a conference call with Green Bay media, via the Packers' official website. "It's too hard to go against him. He's too damn good.
"You guys should try to talk him into retiring."
"Tell him to retire," he retorted, smirking.
The lighthearted banter ahead of Monday night's pivotal NFC North battle is one born of mutual respect. Zimmer has often spoken of Rodgers in revered tones, while the QB called Zimmer "one of the best coaches in the league" and a "tactician on defense."
The chess match between Zimmer and Rodgers will play out in prime time Monday.
Over the past six seasons, Rodgers' Packers hold a 5-4-1 advantage over Zimmer's Vikings, including a Week 2 win in Green Bay. A 2017 Vikings win came after Rodgers broke his collarbone in the first quarter. Zimmer also bested Rodgers twice as a defensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and 2013. Take out the one game Rodgers left early, and the two are 5-5-1 entering Week 16.
Monday night, Zimmer's defense enters on a high, while Rodgers' offense has been sputtering.
Minnesota has held opponents to 10 or fewer points in consecutive games and has 13 games with at least one takeaway. In Week 15, Zimmer's D forced seven L.A. Chargers turnovers.
Since Week 9, Green Bay has averaged 19.2 points per game (25th in NFL during that span) and just 174.5 passing yards per game (30th). Rodgers averaged 100 fewer passing yards (189.8) in Weeks 9-15 than in Weeks 1-8 (290.5). The Packers do have Aaron Jones, who bludgeoned the Vikings for 116 rushing yards and a TD in Week 2.