Every week send any Vikings-related questions to @Andrew_Krammer and I’ll answer them here on Fridays.
Do you think we need to worry about our run defense? Inreally think we need to do a better job, specially against the read option
— Raphão Martins (@raphaomartins) December 12, 2017
A: I don’t think so. That was the first time this season the Vikings faced an offense with designed runs for its quarterback. They were well aware heading in, but simply got beat on the one critical read-option at the end of the game. Cam Newton’s 62-yard run is broken down well here by former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz. In short, it was obviously safety Andrew Sendejo’s missed tackle after the Panthers were able to isolate him on Newton. Jonathan Stewart’s 60-yard touchdown run was the other big play not often surrendered by this Vikings defense. The Panthers averaged 2.8 yards on their other 34 runs, meaning Minnesota had it figured out for the most part. They can just ill afford explosive plays, which they’re typically one of the league’s best at limiting. Up next is a Bengals offense averaging 79.4 rushing yards per game, ranking 31st.
Which NFC playoff-bound teams are the best match-ups for the Vikings? Which are the worst?
— Josh Henig (@josh_henig) December 12, 2017
A: There’s just something about the Seahawks that I don’t want to see if I’m the Vikings. Perhaps its Russell Wilson, who most recently went 2-0 against the Vikings in 2015 with a handful of ridiculous feats of escape. Perhaps its the defense that even without its slew of injured defensive stars plays with an atmosphere ripe with creating new ones. As far as the best matchups, I’d stay in the same division and say a rematch with the Rams and young Jared Goff, who was held to seven points last month at U.S. Bank Stadium. The one I was most intrigued about was Carson Wentz and the Eagles, but it might be Nick Foles instead.
Do you think the vikings this year are better than the 2009 team?
— AbdulAziz M Hamadah (@azizhamadah12) December 14, 2017
A: That’s an interesting one. I do not, only because that 2009 team was getting all-time production at the most important position from a Hall of Famer in Brett Favre. I looked at both teams statistically and there are some striking similarities, starting with the run defense. Both 2009 and 2017 teams (currently) have the second-ranked run defense for their seasons. This year’s Vikings are allowing just 88.3 rushing yards per game, compared to 87.1 rushing yards per game by the Williams Wall and 2009 team. Overall, I think the current defense is better and more talented even though both are great. Perhaps the most important stat is point differential. Those 2009 Vikings won games that regular season by nearly 10 points per game (plus-158). This year’s Vikings are winning by an average of just under six points per game (plus-74). Build a time machine and put Favre on this team? That’s a different story.