Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings defense face difficult challenge preparing for RGIII

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: November 7, 2013 - 8:52 AM

In case you missed it in Thursday’s paper, here’s the story on Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III coming into form as Redskins face the Vikings.

When facing the read option, it’s crucial for a defense to play assignment sound, especially against two great runners in Griffin and Redskins running back Alfred Morris. With Griffin returning from his right knee injury last year, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said the Redskins aren’t as conservative with the play calling now compared to the start of the season.

“That’s in large part due to the quarterback seeming to be more confident in what he’s doing and the coaches calling plays they ran a year ago,” Frazier said. “It seems they’re becoming that offense again.”

That's not exactly good news for defenders. While Washington’s offense isn’t similar to the Cowboys with its ability to run the ball, defensive end Jared Allen said the defense will once again need to improve on first and second downs to avoid manageable third down situations. The Cowboys were 5 of 14 on third down against the Vikings on Sunday.

“We've got to do that this week,” Allen said. “They have a great running game. It's fantastic. The play-action game is tough off of it. We've got our hands full this week.

“You've got to force [Griffin] into situations where they can't have their playbook open, where you're in second and third and short trying to decipher read option versus play action. That's going to be a long day for us. You've got to get him into situations where you force him into being one-dimensional and we have a chance to be successful.”

The Vikings have faced one dual-threat quarterback so far this season, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. He had nine carries for 30 yards and a touchdown but was extremely effective against the Vikings secondary going 20-for-26 for 242 yards and three touchdowns.

“This type of game, with that slash running game and that read option, you've got to be aggressive and do your assignment,” Allen said. “The more you hit him the more likely you can cause turnovers. You just can't allow that one big play.”

 Both Newton and Griffin are talented, athletic quarterbacks… and the Vikings face another good dual-threat quarterback next week, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT