It’s a short week for the Minnesota Vikings, hopefully the team has a short memory, because it sure has been a short, but long week. The Los Angeles Rams look to take on a Vikings team that was basically stunned last week, while Minnesota is looking to prove that the game against Buffalo was a fluke. Here’s three things to look out for:
3. A blitz-friendly defense
I don’t recall seeing a whole lot of blitzing last week, then again I didn’t see a whole lot of the game because I was working. From what was on social media, I think it's fair to say that there wasn’t much aggressive play calling last week. Not as much as the fans wanted to see, at least.
One play that really gets me pumped is when the defense sends in either Harrison Smith or Andrew Sendejo to blitz the quarterback. Both are very quick, and if effective can pressure the quarterback in under three seconds.
With Todd Gurley in the backfield, blitzing will help with filling the gap in the trenches. It will also help put the pressure on Jared Goff. Minnesota can’t allow Goff anytime to throw the ball.
If the Vikings allow Goff to get the ball off with no pressure, then it’s going to be a long day for that secondary, just look at last week. The Vikings aren't the same team without that aggressive demeanor.
2. Pat Elflein
There is just something about Elflein’s return that just makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. Probably because he’s a big safety blanket, and a type of player that can’t be replaced, easily
Elflein, last year’s Vikings Rookie of the Year will finally be able to begin his sophomore campaign. He also will help build that consistency on the line that fans and probably players have been waiting for.
He started in 14 games last season, as well as the two playoff games. Elflein was a star at Ohio State. He started in 53 consecutive games before his injury against Carolina last season during week 14.
Elflein gives that veteran type feel, even though it’s only his second year in the league. He reminds me of Matt Birk, I’m truly excited to have him back in the lineup, and I’m sure Kirk Cousins is too.
1. Kirk Cousins will have a “complete” game
I don’t mean that he’s going to play the whole game, well he is, but that’s not what I’m getting at. Last week against Buffalo, Cousins had a horrible first half, but a respectable second half, despite getting rolled over all together.
As much as I would love to see the run game get rolling, I believe the Vikings will focus on the pass game with the Rams’ defensive backs being a little shaken up. The offense will try and expose that area of the defense as much as possible.
Hopefully Cousins will get some more time to throw the ball or at least feel more protected with Elflein back in the lineup. Cousins will throw the ball about, I’m going to say 48 times for 425 yards and three touchdowns.
My final thoughts and predictions:
I never know what to expect out of the defense sometimes. I get the defense is one of the best in the league, but definitely not the most consistent. The Rams offense is loaded with weapons on all fronts. I feel that Zimmer and Edwards will figure out a solid game plan to shut down the offense. If anyone is more upset about the result last week it’s Zim.
Vikings will find a way to pull it off and prove that the game against the Bills was a fluke. Vikings win 27-21.