Last week the Minnesota Vikings were set to become a 2-3 team in the heart of the NFC playoff hunt This week they have a hole to dig as they lie at 1-4, but the good news is they’ll host the Atlanta Falcons without a win
The Falcons sacked head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff last weekend, but as with all things with the Vikings, it’s unlikely to be a snap With another chance to get back into the mix, we take a look at some of the big questions that will decide the game
While Dru Samia’s wrist injury may be a blessing in disguise, it also raises the question of what the Vikings will do against the Falcons
The most popular opinion is to throw Ezra Cleveland in one of the starting guard posts The second-round pick was drafted as the apparent heir to Riley Reiff, but made the bulk of his work indoors this season
While having him play on the right side is a reach, the Vikings could move left guard Dakota Dozier to make room
Another option could be Oli Udoh The 2018 sixth round selection has less guard experience, but may be a way to protect Cleveland if he’s not ready
One of the biggest « what ifs » of the 2019 season is if Alexander Mattison never sprained his ankle at the end of the year The injury coincided with a shoulder injury from Dalvin Cook and took an opportunity to start at the end of the season
Had Mattison been healthy and produced during that time, there’s a chance the Vikings could have saved $ 63 million and injected them into the offensive line.Instead, Mattison will have his chance against Atlanta
Cook was the centerpiece of the offense, but Mattison produced at a similar level According to Pro Football Focus, Mattison ranks 13th among the qualifiers with a 37% breakaway percentage (designed runs of 15 yards or plus), and its 298 meters after contact is just behind Cook’s 352
Mattison Truthers claimed a victory Sunday night as he ran for 112 yards against the Seahawks If he puts up a similar performance, the question of why the Vikings signed Cook will rise to the surface
The Vikings were successful on offense with a ground-and-pound approach Although he had 201 yards against Seattle, there’s a chance the offense would be more effective against Atlanta if they left Cousins to cook »
The Falcons’ defense has been poor throughout the year, but they place 10th in Football Outsiders DVOA measure against the run This game could also bring up bad memories of last year’s reunion where Grady Jarrett destroyed Garrett Bradbury to the point that he walked away with a 00 PFF passing blocking note
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s passing defense ranks 30th in DVOA and struggled in high school Starting cornerback Kendall Sheffield ranks fifth in qualifying with 235 yards per cover snap and rookie AJ Terrell ranks ninth in qualifying with a 1434 passer rating allowed, meaning there will be opportunities to hit
With two top-five receivers at his disposal, Cousins should find a way to have a big game It’s just a question of whether the technical staff will allow him to do so
While it ended in sheer horror when Cameron Dantzler’s controller went offline on a 4th and 10th Hail Mary, the Vikings’ defense performed well against a White Heat Seahawks attack during from week 5 With a young defense learning to play at this level, the next step would be to deal with the Atlanta offense.
Atlanta comes into the game with a poor record but held a big lead in three of their five games Indeed, while they may look like a bad team, they have enough weapons to get the job done.
The Falcons set to recover Julio Jones from a hamstring injury on Sunday, while Calvin Ridley ranks 13th in qualifying with 257 yards per course For reference, last week’s D hero K Metcalf is 12th at 258 yards by course and lit the Vikings for 93 yards and two touchdowns
The Atlanta ground game also came to life last week as Todd Gurley ran for a record 121 yards against Carolina as the Carolina run defense ranks 29th in the DVOA defensive against the race, the Vikings are not much better at 27th
Rotating more youngsters like James Lynch into the lineup might help, but there’s more than enough firepower for Atlanta to get into this game.
The Vikings are 1-4 and are starting to fade from the NFC playoff picture They return home to face a winless team in the Falcons, but as the week off the Vikings may be like a student waiting for the bell to ring
Despite the winless record, Atlanta has enough talent to make it a game To add to the possibility of a « WTF game », the Falcons’ dismissal of Quinn may help them reunite
Of the last 20 teams that fired their head coach mid-season, they went 12-8 the following week.This includes the Houston Texans, who earned a victory over Jacksonville after the Vikings took escaped with a win in week 4
This should be a game the Vikings win on paper, but just like the rest of 2020, it wouldn’t be shocking if it didn’t go as planned
Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, NFL, Seattle Seahawks
World News – United States – 5 Vikings vs Atlanta Questions
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