Quoted by Jared Allen in the locker room before practice on friday. Its very cliche' but very much true for our defense to set the tone against an opponent like Jacksonville. I wouldn't say the same if we were playing any of our opponents in the North, with maybe the exception of Chicago. Jacksonville will be a run heavy team again this year and must be to help Gabbert be succesful. So who are my players this week on the Vikings defense to be the difference makers in victory or defeat?
Game Changer #1
Jasper Brinkley: He can't be over jumping gaps or missing tackles. They will try to run up the middle on us and use cut backs. I believe this is where MJD is most effective. He's got to show up tomorrow and really show he can tackle one of the hardest RB's in the game to bring down. It'll be huge for the D-line to really cause havoc in front of him so he can get clean hits on the jacksonville backfield. Which brings me to my 2nd game changer.
Game Changer #2
Kevin Williams: He was suspended last year for a few games and had a nagging injury. It was probably his worse year of his career. Which I remind you still wasn't that bad. A great motivator, as Jared Allen pointed out in his press conference, is a lack of success. Especially from a player that has experienced it for over a decade in the NFL. Now that he is fully healthy and as far as I know has no lingering injuries, he should be poised to really cause havoc up the middle. I expect him to cause huge push and disrupt any open gaps for MJD or Jennings to run through.
Game Changer #3
Antoine Winfield: It feels like forever since we've seen Winfield. When he went absent last year, our run defense and secondary went in the toilet and floated stagnent in there with all the sh*t we had to bring in off the street. He can help keeping Jennings or MJD from taking advantage of us on the outside. He defines a sure tackler, and I expect him to be on alot of plays Sunday. Hopefully a couple of his hits can jar the ball out (MJD hasn't been carrying around the rock at all this off-season) Its going to be obvious how badly we rely on Winfields skills.
Game Changer #4
Mistral Raymond: He kind of came out of nowhere this pre-season and really showed a knack to get to the ball, wherever it may have been. Its certain MJD and Jennings will have broken tackles, so it will be crucial for him to be flying to the ball and helping out on any missed tackles. Him and Harrison Smith are out last line of defense so to speak, so they need to be flying to the ball and helping out to secure up the runners. For some reason I think this guy can be special and i know pre-season tends to give fans false hope, but I had this same feeling about Adrian Peterson as a rookie. I sure hope its more then a gut feeling.