A team is often described as entering a “trap” game when they face an underdog opponent immediately after a big win and just before a big game. Coming off a win over division rival Green Bay last Monday night and with games against AFC North opponents Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the immediate future, this weekend’s game against the 0-4 St. Louis Rams fits the “trap game” description.
But from what I’ve seen and heard around Winter Park this week, the Vikings will not be caught in the trap. Whether that means they’ll win remains to be seen, but a poor performance or loss on the road in St. Louis this week will not be the product of the Vikings overlooking their opponent.
The Vikings have several reasons, in fact, to not only avoid overlooking their opponent, but to be concerned about tricky subplots in this matchup. Here are a few…
– The Rams coaching staff will know how to prepare the team to face the Vikings. St. Louis Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo is good friends with both Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo coached with both Childress and Frazier in Philadelphia (at different times). Additionally, 2 of Spagnuolo’s assistants in St. Louis were members of Childress’ original staff in Minnesota. LBs coach Paul Ferraro was the Vikings special teams coordinator from 2006-2008 and DL coach Brendan Daly was the assistant DL coach in Minnesota during that same time period.
– The Rams are averaging just 6.0 points per game, but don’t think that Frazier is taking this offensive unit lightly. He explained during his press conference on Thursday that the Rams have moved the ball well against both the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, but that self-induced mistakes (turnovers and penalties) have neutralized offensive momentum. Frazier went on to explain that the mistakes St. Louis has made are correctable, and that if those corrections are made, the Rams are capable of playing a quality and beating anyone.
– Rams RB Steven Jackson ran up and down the field against this Vikings defense back in Week 17 of the 2006 season. He carried the ball 25 times for 142 yards and 3 TDs, and also added a TD reception. The Vikings will be focused on stopping Jackson, but the Rams won’t be afraid to challenge the Vikings defense with their top offensive threat.
– The Vikings had a pair of offensive linemen on the injury report this week in All-Pro G Steve Hutchinson and RT Phil Loadholt. Hutchinson will likely play, but back injuries are funny things and can flare up in an instant. Loadholt’s status is a bit more uncertain, but he was held out of practice on Friday, which isn’t a good sign.
– This game is on the road, and in 2 road games this season the Vikings have gotten off to slow starts.
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Phil Loadholt, Steve Hutchinson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 3 Comments »