GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We can say the F-word now, since it's history: Aaron Rodgers was in a bit of funk. A 14-game funk, to be exact.
Just about everyone figured the two-time NFL MVP would break out of it at some point. That point, as it turned out, coincided with Rodgers' "run the table" remark before the Week 12 game last year at Philadelphia, and the run of solid performances kept going and going and going.
The 14-game run that the Green Bay Packers quarterback has been on since then has looked nothing like the 14 games before that, when trying to figure out what was wrong with Rodgers had become a cottage industry.
"I never saw him as [in] a funk," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said this week.
Perhaps Zimmer doesn't want to get Rodgers riled up in advance of the Packers' trip to Minnesota for Sunday's game, but it doesn't take a defensive-minded NFL head coach to see that Rodgers -- and the Packers' offense in general -- has functioned at a higher level since the funk, which can be traced to a 38-8 loss at Arizona in Week 16 of the 2015 season.
The 14-game numbers from that point to right before the Philadelphia game weren't pretty (including two playoff games after the 2015 season): just five wins against nine losses, 31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, a 61.7 percent completion rate and a 91.7 passer rating.
The 14-game numbers since then show a major reversal (including three playoff games after the 2016 season): 12 wins and only two losses, 37 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, a 67.3 percent completion rate and a 110.4 passer rating.
"I don't see anything different," Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said. "As a whole, as an offense, we've taken care of the ball better. I think that's been more this year than anything. That might be a question for him. I don't know. To me, he hasn't changed anything that he wasn't or was doing early last year to now."
If no one will acknowledge that Rodgers struggled for a stretch, most can at least agree that what he's done over the last 14 games has been vintage Rodgers, especially in the comeback wins he engineered on Sept. 24 against the Bengals in overtime and Sunday at Dallas.
"I think he's playing excellent, I really do," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "You know, had some bumps as you always do to start the season. But I thought the Dallas game was his best game this year. There's a lot of moving parts on offense, and he's managed that extremely well, as he always has going all the way back to '08. He's always given myself the chance to stay aggressive, too. So, if anything, when we get into these game-plan meetings, we probably have to caution ourselves and try not to do too much. So he's playing at a high level. Just gives us great flexibility to keep evolving as an offense."
By now, Rodgers should be used to things changing around him. This year, it's mostly on the offensive line, where the Packers have started five combinations in five games, without their two starting tackles playing together at any point. They've also gone through three running backs already and at times have played without all three of their top receivers: Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb.
Yet Rodgers has rolled on.
The Packers rank fourth in the NFL in points scored on offense (26.2 per game), third in third-down conversions (48.4 percent) and first in red zone efficiency (78.9 percent).
"The plan has been fantastic," Rodgers said. "I think both the plans in the third down and the red zone, there's a reason that we're third in third down and we're first in the red zone. The execution has been good, but we're dialing up some touchdowns. It hadn't been as consistent over the years. It's always been good. This year it's fantastic.
"When you can look at the plan, going into it on third downs and the red zone, and go, 'This one's probably a touchdown; this one's probably a touchdown,' and you go out and execute, it feels pretty good. ... The third down and the red zone plans have been fantastic, and it just comes down to executing. Mike talks a lot about how scheme is not a crutch. In this case, scheme has been a big asset for us."
Which brings us back to the point where things changed for Rodgers and the Packers.
"I just think last year really helped us out because we had to do so many different things from a creativity standpoint, with Ty [Montgomery] moving from receiver to running back," Rodgers said. "Maybe that got the juices going to where those guys spend a lot of time on the plan and they've come up with some good things. We cut it down at the end of the week, and Mike dials it up, and we've been making it work."