Which phase of the team do you expect to stand out most this Sunday against Oakland?
Rushing the passer is a strength of the Vikings defense and on Sunday this part of the team will have the noise of U.S. Bank Stadium on its side. Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph each have a sack in both games this season and head coach Mike Zimmer says Everson Griffen has his Pro Bowl form back. But the Raiders have been adept at avoiding sacks in 2019, having allowed only three on 67 passing attempts.
The Vikings have the NFL’s leading rusher (Dalvin Cook – 265 yards) and they rank No. 3 in total rushing (370 yards) and No. 4 in yards per attempt (5.7). So this may seem like an easy answer, but it’s also worth noting that Oakland brings with it to U.S. Bank Stadium the NFL’s No. 4 rushing defense in yards per carry (2.8) and the No. 5 rushing defense in total yards allowed (126). Also, Oakland has yet to surrender a rushing touchdown.
Coach Zimmer stresses the importance of situational football to his team every week during practice and he emphasizes the point in his post-game press conference each week, often times noting the successes and failures in critical situations such as 3rd downs and the red zone. In their last home game, the Vikings were four-for-four in touchdown percentage on sudden change possessions, they were three-for-three in the red zone and two-for-two in goal-to-go situations.
Stefon Diggs + Adam Thielen
Both Stefon Digg and Adam Thielen have scored a touchdown through two games. But neither has topped 100 yards. They’ve been solid, but not as sensational as they were a season ago. This could be the weak they break out. Oakland has the NFL’s last-ranked passing defense, surrendering 342.5 yards per game through two weeks. Opposing quarterbacks have a 120.5 rating against Oakland and the Raiders have allowed five touchdowns through the air versus having no interceptions. Denver’s one-two punch combined for 12 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown while Kansas City’s top tandem totaled 221 yards and two touchdowns on 12 catches.