In an earlier entry we pointed out that one important aspect of this weekend’s game against the Bears is the Vikings pass rush because Chicago has allowed more sacks than any other team and the Vikings are coming off a 6-sack performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
But make no mistake, the Bears feel the same way about their pass rush against the Vikings offense. And the key to Chicago’s pass rush is DE Julius Peppers, one of the NFL’s elite pass rushers and a player with whom the Vikings became too familiar last season in a game against Peppers’ former team, the Carolina Panthers.
In that game, Vikings QB Brett Favre was constantly pressured and he was sacked 4 times. The offense was never able to get on track as a result. Peppers had 1.0 of the 4 sacks but his impact on the game was greater than his sack total indicated. He was a disruptive force both against the Vikings passing attack and the ground game.
Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie took the brunt of the criticism following the game. While meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was asked about McKinnie’s mindset heading into this weekend’s game against the Bears and, ultimately, a rematch with Peppers.
“He’s a prideful guy,” Childress said of his LT. “He’ll see him (Peppers) on that side, of course, and you’re also going to see [Peppers] show up on the other side, too. Typically he goes to the open-ended side.”
Regardless of where he lines up, Peppers is an effective defender in both the run game and pass game and he’s a player the Vikings will have to account for on every play.
So how will the Vikings use personnel and scheme to try and neutralize Peppers?
“You usually talk about that, whether you’re going to cover a tight end over on that side or there’s going to be a back fading to that guy,” Childress explained. “All those protections are different. Sometimes you’ve got to stand by yourself because nobody’s going to be left in the backfield. Sometimes you’re going to make sure that you get both the tackles get help with the rush coming off the edge.”
The Vikings offensive line played well during the 2nd half against Arizona, which was an important factor in the Vikings 2nd-half surge and eventual victory. A similar performance this week in Chicago from that group will go a long way toward the Vikings registering their 4th win of the season.
Did You Know?
Bears DE Julius Peppers has 64.0 sacks since 2004. But Vikings DE Jared Allen has fared a little better, tallying 75.5 sacks since entering the league in 2004, more than any other NFL player over that span.
Tags: Jared Allen
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