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Bleacher Report – Vikings

First quarter analysis: Vikings defense slowing Giants

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings lead the New York Giants 7-0 after one quarter. Here are some notes and observations…

First quarter

– Mike Zimmer’s ability to mix looks with his front four has gotten into the heads of both Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton and on the first drive by the Giants, Zimmer tossed a different alignment at Eli Manning on a key third down. The Giants jumped offsides, then the Vikings came back with a completely different look. They got a stop and forced New York to punt.

– Cordarrelle Patterson was right in the face of punt returner Dwayne Harris when he fumbled to give the Vikings back the ball and eventually score the opening touchdown. Patterson was then rewarded with a 21-yard reception and played most downs on the touchdown drive. He was even used on a run play on the Vikings’ fourth drive.

– The Vikings threw the ball to Jerick McKinnon twice on their touchdown drive, a pattern we should expect to see more often. McKinnon ripped off the most impressive run of the year, gaining 25 yards by being patient, then exploding through a hole. Norv Turner even lined up his RB at wide receiver on one play.

– Andre Smith injured his elbow. His return is questionable, though the Vikings may be better off with Jeremiah Sirles in at tackle.

– Xavier Rhodes has been lined up against Odell Beckham a lot. On a third down play, it appeared there would be a 1-on-1 showdown, then Harrison Smith jumped in to double him, which forced Manning to check down.

– Trae Waynes came in at corner for Rhodes to start the third Giants drive. Newman took over the role of following Beckham.

Second quarter

Rhodes returned to the lineup and was lined up against Beckham. It appears Zimmer is sticking with his cornerback rotation.

– McKinnon benefitted from some good blocking on a 10 yard carry. He appears to be a big part of the game plan as he even lined up in the Wildcat and gained seven yards.

– Sam Bradford started to get Stefon Diggs involved with a 21-yard throw to put the Vikings in the Red Zone for a second time. Diggs needs just over 100 yards to set a Vikings record for most yards in the opening four games of a season.

– Sirles has been 1-on-1 with Jason Pierre-Paul and slowed down JPP thus far.

– If there was any question before who Sam Bradford’s favorite Red Zone target is, there isn’t any now. Kyle Rudolph caught his third touchdown in third weeks in the back of the end zone on a perfect strike from Bradford.

The post First quarter analysis: Vikings defense slowing Giants appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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