Is it ever easy with this team? Asking for a friend.
There is no telling what the Vikings trip to Los Angeles will bring. An incompetent offensive line has to deal with Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Michael Brockers. Sure, Aqib Talib is out, and Marcus Peters is not likely to play, and if he does, he will be hampered. But it won’t matter what corners are lined up against Thielen and Diggs, it doesn’t seem as though Cousins will have time to find them the ball anyway. The running game? Nonexistent for the most part this season.
The biggest question one must ask about this team is where there heads are at right now. It’s not just the absence of Everson Griffen, it’s everything surrounding it. Nobody knows if he’ll play this season, or ever again. They sure looked like a distracted team on Sunday, and there is little reason to believe this team can do anything against the Rams. Then again, there was little reason to believe the Bills would do what they did in U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 3.
Let’s dive in:
Kirk Cousins projected stats: 27-46, 267 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble
Breakdown: Cousins was pressured in some form on more than half of his drop backs against the Bills. The Vikings did very little to improve their offensive line in the offseason, and it has shown in all three games so far. Cousins has been sacked, hit, and harassed on at least every other offensive drive. Along with that, the running game has done nothing to help him, something that many analysts and fans thought would be a huge help to him, and something he didn’t have in Washington. But it would go entirely against the run of play this season to believe Cousins won’t have big struggles in Los Angeles, and have to throw way more than he should once again.
Running Backs (Combination of whoever plays, pending the health of Dalvin Cook) Projected stats: 14 carries, 59 yards.
Breakdown: Dalvin Cook only averaged 3 yards per carry in the first two weeks of the season. While the 49ers and Packers have some talent in their respective front seven’s, neither squad possess what the Rams have. In last season’s matchup, the Vikings dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the 2nd half. The Rams responded by signing Suh, and improving the scheme of their offensive line. Simply put, I have zero faith the Vikings will get anything going in the running game at all.
Adam Thielen: 10 catches, 98 yards
Stefon Diggs: 6 catches, 77 yards, 1 touchdown
Breakdown: As stated earlier, I don’t believe it matters what defensive backs line up on Thielen and Diggs. I just don’t believe Cousins will have adequate time to throw in the pocket. Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is masterful at getting pressure, and this game should be no different. It’s sad that entering Week 4, it is a a time filled with more question marks than a year ago. Troubling to say the least.
Kyle Rudolph: 8 catches, 89 yards, 1 touchdown
Breakdown: The Rams have a group of no-name linebackers. Their linebackers could also spend a lot of time bracketing Thielen and Diggs to compensate for the absence of Talib and Peters. This could mean Kyle Rudolph is in for a big day. He seems to have decent chemistry with Cousins, and he looks crisp running his routes this season. I feel he’s been a bit better than I thought he would be, but I don’t think he himself can alter the outcome in L.A.
Prayers up for Everson Griffen. Get well soon.