Since Leslie Frazier joined the Vikings as defensive coordinator in 2007, he’s seen his team thrive at home thanks in part to a lethal pass rush and a significant home-field advantage that is derived largely from deafening crowd noise at Mall of America Field. This week, though, Frazier and the Vikings hit the road for a game in St. Louis, and the Vikings head coach says his team is preparing for those factors to work in concert against his team.
“It’ll be a big challenge,” Frazier said on Wednesday. “They’re second in the League in sacks. I know that place will be loud on Sunday, so we’ll have to really work hard here in practice on trying to simulate that noise, similar to what people experience when they come to our place.”
The Rams are 4-2 in their home building this year, and they’ve collected 21 of their 39 total sacks in those 6 home contests. They sacked Arizona QBs 9 times on October 4 and more recently tallied 3 sacks against both the NY Jets and San Francisco 49ers at home. The key to the Rams pass rush is their DEs, as starters Chris Long and Robert Quinn have combined for 17.0 sacks. On top of that, DT Michael Brockers, a 1st-rounder from the 2012 NFL Draft, has 4.0 sacks in 10 games rushing from the inside.
“Both Robert Quinn and (Chris) Long are outstanding pass rushers,” Frazier acknowledged. “They give them (the Rams) great edge rush on both edges, so they’re guys we’re going to have to contend with. We’ll have to do some different things to kind of offset what they’re capable of doing.
“But our tackles, they’ve got a big challenge ahead of them. They have good defensive tackles as well, so it’s a good (defensive) front.”
Aside from personnel on the field, the Vikings have a couple more factors working in their favor. First, their defensive line coach – Brendan Daly – spent the previous three seasons on the Rams staff, so he has some familiarity with St. Louis’ personnel. Secondly, Frazier pointed out that this Vikings team has some experience playing in hostile environments, as all NFL teams do, so the adverse environment won’t catch the offense by surprise.
“It’ll be a big challenge for our offensive line, there’s no question about it,” Frazier said, “and for our offense in general trying to function in that environment. We’ve been in some tough environments in the past, and this is one where we’ll have to rise to the challenge.”
Tags: Brendan Daly, Leslie Frazier
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