Minnesota Vikings: Pass Rush More Important Than Ever In Upcoming Game

By Nick Baker
Brian Robison
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The struggles on defense continue each week for the Minnesota Vikings, and with the majority of these struggles happening in the secondary, the Vikings could be in for a rough Monday night game against the New York Giants. The Giants are still looking for their first victory of the season, but with the gunslinging Eli Manning under center, they will have a shot at not only beating the Vikings, but picking apart their secondary in the process as well.

The play of the Giants’ offensive line this year is a huge reason why the team is still seeking their first victory, meaning the Vikings must formulate an effective pass rush attack for their upcoming Monday night game. The Giants’ O-line is ranked as the fourth-worst pass blocking unit in the league by Pro Football Focus, which is great news for a Vikings’ defensive line that is anchored by two pass-rushing specialists.

Brian Robison and Jared Allen have gotten the majority of snaps at the defensive end positions for the Vikings this season, and although the two have combined for just five sacks through five games, Robison is currently second among defensive ends with 22 QB hurries to date. Allen has 11 QB hurries of his own, and of the five times he has hit a quarterback this season, four of them have resulted in a sack, meaning he must simply work on his ability to get within arms reach of the opposing quarterback.

Allen and Robison will matchup with the Giants’ Justin Pugh and William Beatty on Monday, and according to PFF, Pugh and Beatty rank as the second- and third-worst pass blockers on the Giants’ roster. The interior of the Giants’ offensive line has struggled as well this season, meaning Vikings rookie Sharrif Floyd, who already has recorded a couple of sacks this season, could find his way into the backfield on Monday as well.

The Carolina Panthers shutout the normally high-powered Giants offense back in Week 3, and a major reason they were able to limit the effectiveness of Manning and the Giants’ offense as a whole was through their pass-rushing ability that resulted in seven sacks. The Panthers were able to dominate the Giants in the trenches in Week 3, and even though the Panthers’ front four rank just a tad higher than league average when it comes to pass rushing, their performance opens the door for the possibility of the Vikings rendering the Giants’ pass game useless, as well.

The secondary for the Vikings needs all the help it can get, and in this upcoming game, the majority of the help they will receive should come from the front four of the Vikings’ defense, and more specifically the two pass rushers coming off the edge. While Robison and Allen will get the majority of the defensive end snaps on Monday, Everson Griffin is a player who made a difference rushing the passer last week, and could do the same again this week if given the chance.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.


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