Coverage of the Randy Moss trade has dominated vikings.com, and rightfully so. But this has caused us to adjust somewhat our coverage of the Vikings upcoming game against the Jets. As a result, a few things we typically would’ve mentioned were overlooked. So, since I’m sitting in my hotel room waiting to head to the stadium, now is a good time to empty out the notebook to make sure no stones go unturned.
Here are a few Vikings-Jets related thoughts to ponder while you’re waiting for the work day to end and Monday Night Football to begin…
– Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind and he has his work cut out for him with the Vikings offense. But Ryan won’t be intimidated because he has complete confidence in his group and his group thrives on that confidence. A big part of Ryan’s defensive strategy is applying pressure on opposing QBs, which they do primarily via an array of blitz and pressure packages. No team dials up more blitzes on 1st down passes than the Jets, who bring it 54.5% of the time in such situations. On 2nd down passes, the Jets blitz 56% of the time and on 3rd down the Jets blitz a league-high 83.3% of the time. The Vikings must be buttoned up in their protection schemes and also in their hot routes to counter-act this heavy blitz behavior from the Jets.
– Earlier this week Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he thinks turnovers will factor into the outcome of this game. This is a bit concerning to me because the Jets have just 1 turnover so far in 2010 and the Vikings have forced 5 turnovers in 3 games, not a terrible amount but something Frazier would certainly like to see improved. I think the best way for the Vikings to generate turnovers against the Jets will be to force QB Mark Sanchez to beat them. While Sanchez has played well to this point in the season, I’d rather force him to pass than watch the Jets running game and powerful offensive line have its way on the ground.
– I believe both teams will try to establish the run offensively, despite the Vikings addition of Moss and the fast start by Sanchez. Given this, and given how well each team plays against the run, I think 2nd down passing becomes a key factor in this game. I’m anticipating both offenses will be forced into passing situations on 2nd down to get back on track in the down-and-distance department. Defensive statistics to this point in the season favor the Jets in this facet of the game. They are allowing a passer rating of just 37.5 on 2nd down passes, while the Vikings are yielding a respectable 78.1 rating. Whichever offense can figure out how to beat the defense in 2nd-down passing situations will have a leg up on the ever-important 3rd down.
– Moss isn’t the only WR making a “return” of sorts on Monday night. Moss returns to the Vikings but the Jets welcome WR Santonio Holmes to the offense after trading for him this past offseason and having him sit through a 4-game suspension. That suspension is over and so is the Jets wait to see how he fits in with the offense. Holmes was targeted 7 times by the Steelers offense against the Vikings last year. While the Vikings defense allowed him to tally just 2 catches, the point remains that Pittsburgh’s offensive coaches though Holmes could expose the Vikings defense. I’m guessing the Jets offensive coaches are along the same line of thinking and will try to incorporate Holmes into the offensive attack. I don’t know how the Vikings will defend Holmes – exclusively with Winfield or not – but I do know it’s important for Frazier’s group to find a way to contain the WR. He has a nice combination of size, speed and hands. He can work the middle of the field, the sidelines and the deep route. He is also a possible punt returner for the Jets special teams unit.
Tags: Leslie Frazier
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