New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings: Top 5 Matchups To Watch

By Robert Reidell

New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings: Top 5 Matchups To Watch

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots will travel to Minneapolis to square off with the Minnesota Vikings following a Week 1 defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. While many consider the Patriots to be overwhelming favorites, the Vikings showed promise in their Week 1 matchup against the St. Louis Rams and may give them a run for their money. As always, it will come down to the individual matchups.

Here are five key matchups to keep an eye on.

5. WR Julian Edelman vs. CB Captain Munnerlyn

Julian Edelman New England Patriots
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. WR Julian Edelman vs. CB Captain Munnerlyn

Julian Edelman New England Patriots
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings spent a pretty penny to pry Munnerlyn away from the Carolina Panthers during the offseason. In Week 2, the Vikings will faceoff against one of the top passing offenses of the last decade and Munnerlyn will need to step up if his team is to have a chance. Edelman, the Patriots’ leader in receptions in 2013, usually operates out of the slot, which means he will go head-to-head with Munnerlyn throughout the game.

4. DE Chandler Jones vs. LT Matt Kalil

Chandler Jones New England Patriots
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

4. DE Chandler Jones vs. LT Matt Kalil

Chandler Jones New England Patriots
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Ranting about Kalil’s regression is beginning to sound like a broken record. The big left tackle was underwhelming last weekend, but was able to keep Robert Quinn at bay for the most part. Things will not get any easier this week, as Jones is another above-average pass rusher. If Kalil cannot stop Jones, the Vikings offense will not be able to get off the ground, which likely spells defeat for the underdog.

3. HC Bill Belichick vs. WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

3. HC Bill Belichick vs. WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Belichick is widely regarded as one of the greatest head coaches of all-time. One of the main reasons for this is his ability to take an opposing team’s best player out of the game. While Adrian Peterson still commands the majority of the attention in Minnesota, Patterson has become an increasing priority for opposing head coaches. It will be interesting to see how Belichick handles Patterson, as no team has been able to stop him to date.

2. TE Rob Gronkowski vs. HC Mike Zimmer

Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

2. TE Rob Gronkowski vs. HC Mike Zimmer

Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Like Belichick, Zimmer also has a reputation of being a defensive wizard. His defense was able to hold the St. Louis Rams to six points in Week 1, but stopping Gronkowski and the Patriots is a completely different animal. As with most superstars, the goal will be to slow Gronkowski down, as stopping him altogether is highly unlikely. In order for his defense to past its first true test, Zimmer must find a way to not let Gronk define the game.

1. Patriots’ Offensive Line vs. Vikings’ Defensive Line

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Line
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patriots’ Offensive Line vs. Vikings’ Defensive Line

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Line
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

To the surprise of many, the Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. Much of this loss can be attributed to an insufficient offensive line. While Tom Brady was only sacked once, he was constantly under pressure and was hit seven times. The Patriots were also held to under 100 rushing yards. The defensive line, namely Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen, must be consistently disruptive against both the pass and run if the Vikings are to win.

Robert Reidell is a Featured Blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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