Holding a dominant rushing attack is nothing new for the Vikings defense. They were the NFL’s #1 rush defense for 3 consecutive seasons (2006-08) and last year they ranked #2.
This year the Vikings are yielding 96.3 yards per game, which ranks 5th in the NFL and 3rd in the NFC.
A key matchup in Sunday’s game will be the Vikings rush defense vs. the Bears ground game. The Vikings hold a statistical advantage, with their defense ranking 5th in the NFL – and 3rd in the NFC – against the run (allowing 96.3 yards per game) and Chicago generating the 27th best rushing attack at 90.6 yards per game.
To obtain the all-important divisional victory this weekend, the Vikings must hold true to their form. When combining the 3 Vikings wins, the defense has allowed just 70.0 rushing YPG. In 5 losses, the Vikings have allowed 112.0 YPG – a significant difference.
“It has been a little bit up and down,” Frazier said of his run defense on Thursday. “Hopefully we’re on the right track now. We’ll need to do well against the run this weekend. Chicago has the ability to be able to run the football. They’ve got some good backs in Forte and Chester (Taylor), so we’ll have to play good run defense.”
Placing an emphasis on stopping the run is a primary objective for any defense over the course of a season, but it will be especially significant for the Vikings come Sunday. If the Williams Wall, Jared Allen and Co. can turn the Bears offense one dimensional to the aerial attack, it might spell trouble for Chicago QB Jay Cutler.
In the 7 games Cutler has played this season, he has been sacked 28 times. So needless to say, if the Vikings can stop the run and force the Bears to drop back and air it out, Cutler has a good chance of watching the game from his backside.
It seems like a simple formula for success – stop the run, turn the offense one dimensional and capitalize on an offensive line that’s allowed an average of 4 sacks a game on its starting QB. But can it be executed? And more important is the mentality to achieve such success.
“I remember talking to Ray Edwards earlier in the week about some things we wanted to be able to do in this last ball game and he said, ‘Coach, whatever you want to do, I just want to win,’” Frazier recalled of a conversation with DE Ray Edwards. “I said, ‘Man, that’s the attitude you want to hear from your players.’ ‘Forget my statistics, I just want to win.’ If we don’t get 20 sacks this year and we win the championship, I’m a happy dude. That’s the attitude we all need to have. Don’t get caught up in stats, the bottom line is we need to win.”
Tags: Leslie Frazier
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