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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Five games, five wins, five dominant defensive performances for Vikings

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings defense did that thing again.

They did that thing where they make a quarterback look confused, frustrated and defeated.

They did that thing where they shut down the opponent’s best receiver and stonewall their running game.

They did the thing where they lead the Vikings to a win.

Minnesota is now 5-0 heading into the bye week after suffocating the Houston Texans in a 31-13 victory.

The Vikings allowed only 184 yards passing to Houston’s $72 million quarterback and many of Brock Osweiler’s yards came when the Texans were down big. Early in the third quarter he was just 8-for-24 with 60 yards and an interception and the game was mostly out of hand at that point.

Not that Osweiler had much chance to begin with. The Vikings defense had beaten Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning before him and shut down their top wide receivers, too.

One week after eliminating Odell Beckham and two weeks after holding Kelvin Benjamin catchless, the secondary allowed only 5 catches for 56yards to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had 111 receptions last year. Hopkins didn’t make his first catch of the day until seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. His touchdown came when Houston was losing by 25 points.

Tell me where you’ve heard this one before: The Vikings’ success started on the defensive line. Osweiler spent the entire game under pressure from the defensive line, who didn’t need much blitz help to get the quarterback off balance.

“[Osweiler] was looking down a little more than usual, looking at the rush and the linebackers more than most guys do,” linebacker Anthony Barr said. “I don’t know if that’s just how he plays or if throughout the course of the game [the rush] was affecting him.”

Everson Griffen was in Osweiler’s face regularly. He had two sacks negated by penalties – one where he was called offsides but appeared on replay to have been barely onsides. Brian Robison caused an Osweiler fumble and registered two sacks. Tom Johnson got in on the pass rush party with a third quarter sack on third down as Houston was trying to mount a comeback. Danielle Hunter got one for good measure.

“You can see that teams are changing what they like to do,” Johnson said. “Guys that like to be in five or seven step drops, they’re staying shallow. Teams that like to have their tackles one-on-one with ends aren’t doing it, they are chipping. That’s the respect that they’re giving us.”

For the fifth straight game, Mike Zimmer’s crew did not allow any type of consistent rushing game to their opponents. The Texans managed just 59 yards on the ground.

Here’s some more fun with Vikings defensive stats:

– Houston went 1-for-13 on third down

– The Texans had the ball for just 22:32

– Exciting rookie Will Fuller had one catch for four yards

– Lamar Miller’s longest rush was for four yards

Nobody thought the Vikings defense was a fluke when it slowed down Rodgers and Newton, but there was no letdown when they faced a far inferior signal caller. They were able to slow down those great quarterbacks, they embarrassed Osweiler.

With each week and each quarterback leaving their matchup with Minnesota feeling like they were hit by a bus, the Vikings strengthen their case for being the best defense in the NFL.

“We already know that we’re the best [defense] in the league,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter what anybody says.”

After another win like this, everybody is going to agree with Johnson – and they should.

The post Five games, five wins, five dominant defensive performances for Vikings appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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