Minnesota is 3-9-1. They should be a pushover, right? Wrong.
Since a 1-7 start, the Vikings are 2-2-1. And they came painfully close to winning last week. Leslie Frazier will probably be fired when the season is over, but you have to give him a ton of credit. The Vikings never quit on him. They have played hard all year long. Anyone who expects the Vikings to roll over and play dead is sadly mistaken.
Let’s not overstate things. The Vikings aren’t good. They hare mediocre on offense (14th), mainly due to Adrian Peterson. They are awful on defense (31st). You don’t get off to a 1-7 start for no reason.
They do have enough talented pieces to make you nervous. We don’t know for sure whether Adrian Peterson will play. He’s one of the few truly elite players in the league. Rookie WR Cordarelle Patterson is a dangerous player because of his RAC skills. He can score from anywhere. You saw that last week when he caught a short pass and ran it 79 yards for a TD.
Jared Allen can still be a force off the edge. He’s got 7 sacks this year. Brian Robison is the other DE and he’s got 7 sacks as well. Chad Greenway is one of the few LBs in the league that leads his team in tackles, has 3 sacks and 3 INTs.
The Vikings style of play is a concern. WRs Patterson, Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson all have good RAC skills. The Eagles have had issues with receivers making plays after the catch. Minnesota’s ground game can be an issue. They like to use 2 TEs and a FB as blockers at times. Those sets have given the Eagles some problems.
Nick Foles will face a good pass rush. Minnesota has 30 sacks. They can rush 4 or they can blitz. With the Vikings at home, crowd noise will be a factor and can help the DL get off the ball quickly. The Chiefs pass rush gave the Eagles fits early in the year. The Vikings aren’t that good, but you never know when they’ll have a great game.
The Vikings also have 3 return TDs on STs. We saw last week what a difference that can make in a game.
The Eagles are the better team. They should win this game. But don’t dismiss the Vikings. They’re talented enough and a tough enough matchup to give the Eagles some problems on Sunday.
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The great Fran Duffy did an All-22 preview on the Vikings. Tons of good info, as you would expect.
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Interesting note here on Vikings pass rusher Everson Griffen. He is a backup and role player for the Vikings. Griffen is an ascending player that will hit free agency in the offseason. He is 6-3, 273. Natural 4-3 DE, but I’m curious if he might fit at OLB in the 3-4. I’ll be watching him Sunday as an opposing player and as a possible free agency target.
Griffen said he was more effective in this game because he was allowed to play on the edge more. Sitting behind established starters in Robison and Allen, the 6-3, 273-pound Griffen has been asked to be more of a utility player. Most of his time has come as an interior pass rusher. Griffen has been fine in his role, but desires a chance to be an every-down end.
“I’m the guy that’s able to do it all because of my versatility,” Griffen said. “I stand up when we have our stroker package. I drop into coverage. I play nose tackle, I play tackle, both ends. So I play everything on the line and with a little bit of linebacker presence to it. I’m the do-it-all guy. It’s been a fun ride doing it all, but I really want to be able in the upcoming years to perfect my craft at one position.”
Will that be with the Vikings? The team has locked up Robison with a contract extension, but Allen will be a free agent.
“People said I want to test free agency—I never said that,” Griffen said. “Wherever I end up, I just want to be able to perfect my craft at one position. I will play inside sometimes, but I’m an end and I want a chance to show people what I can do year in and year out and not be a guy that moves. I love doing what I do, moving around, but either I can stand up in the 3-4 at linebacker or I’m an end.
I’m interested to see how Griffen plays.