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Bleacher Report – Vikings

After beating Rodgers, Vikings defense turns its focus to Cam Newton

By Matthew Coller

Before stepping on the field against Aaron Rodgers, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn spent part of his Sunday afternoon watching Cam Newton throw for 353 yards and four touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers.

Munnerlyn played with Newton for three years and has unique perspective on the challenges that defenses face when going up against last season’s Most Valuable Player.

“He’s a very competitive guy,” Munnerlyn said. “He doesn’t like to lose at anything, if you try to tie your shoe faster than him he is going to beat you at that.”

Newton was a superstar from the moment he stepped into the league, throwing for over 4,000 yards in his first season. But last year, the Panthers’ star improved his passing stats by setting career highs in touchdowns and quarterback rating.

“He could always throw the ball,” Munnerlyn said. “People always say, ‘he’s not a thrower he’s a runner,’ but to me he was always able to throw the ball. He throws the ball so hard, he zips that thing in there so I definitely know if I get my hands on one I better be prepared to catch it or it might break my finger.”

Safety Harrison Smith said the Vikings’ defensive line limited the effect of Rodgers’ mobility, which they will have to do again against Newton.

“As a whole defense we played well together, the rush and coverage met up,” Smith said. “The guys up front didn’t let him get out of the pocket very much and make those plays you always see him make.”

Smith, who is arguably the NFL’s best safety, has faced arguably the NFL’s best quarterback only two times in his career. Newton posted a 105.6 rating in those games, but neither was played since defensive guru Mike Zimmer took over as head coach.

“He was a very good player even his rookie year,” Smith said. “He’s gotten better and better, he’s obviously a big guy, strong runner, tough, but he’s dialed in his arm even more.”

Through two weeks the Vikings are third in the league in sacks with seven and rank third in the NFL in Yards Per Play allowed.

The post After beating Rodgers, Vikings defense turns its focus to Cam Newton appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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