Sep 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams tight endLance Kendricks
(88) makes a catch under pressure from Minnesota Vikings outside linebackerAnthony Barr
(55) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Minnesota Vikings defeat St. Louis Rams 34-6. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Three Things To Know-Defense
1. Stout front seven
The Vikings have front-loaded their defense, as the front seven is definitely the strength of this unit. They are led by linebacker Chad Greenway, defensive end Everson Griffen, and exciting rookie Anthony Barr, who was thrown right into the rotation in his first NFL game. As of right now, Minnesota owns the fifth best run defense in the game, and while I do think they will slip a bit as the season progresses, they will stay as one of the most stout groups in the league all year long. The Patriots’ biggest issue right now is the offensive line, and they will face a tough test this week, in both the run game, and in pass protection.
2. Weak secondary
With that said, if Tom Brady is afforded time, he will absolutely eat up this weak Vikings’ pass defense. They did pick up Captain Munnerlyn in the offseason, but I would still take Rob Gronkowski, or Shane Vereen over him any day of the week. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, possibly their best player in the back end, suffered a groin injury last weekend, and may not be available for Minnesota in this contest. The Pats have so many dynamic weapons on their side, Brady could have a field day going against this bunch. Of course, this is all assuming Brady has time to throw, which is a big question mark for New England.
3. No extravagant blitzing
Per PFF, the Vikings only blitzed on 22% of the opposing drop-backs last year, which was 27th in the league. They did go out and hire former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer this offseason, but his Bengals defense only blitzed 24.75% of the time, which was 26th in the league. I don’t think we are going to see a lot of blitzing from this group, not only because past history suggests it, but blitzing guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning is probably the worst possible thing you can do. And plus, if you saw how the Pats offensive line played last week in Miami, would you really think you needed to blitz?