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Bleacher Report – Vikings

McPhee’s return could present issues for Vikings

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings had significant protection issues on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, allowing Sam Bradford to get sacked five times and pressured on 19 of 47 drop backs. While the 2016 Chicago Bears’ defense hasn’t exactly looked like a redux of 1985, the return of edge rusher Pernell McPhee from a does not come at a great time for the struggling Minnesota tackles.

The 27-year-old stand-up rusher had a solid first season with the Bears in 2015, picking up six sacks and 42 tackles. He registered 7.5 sacks the previous season as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, who picked him in the fifth round of the NFL draft in 2011. McPhee has been out since undergoing offseason knee surgery. His first game of the year came last week against the Green Bay Packers. While he was limited to only a handful of snaps. head coach John Fox suggested he will play more against the Vikings.

Minnesota’s offensive line has especially struggled against edge rushers this year. They were eaten alive by Houston’s Whitney Mercilus in Week 5, then dominated by Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham. McPhee is built in a similar mold as the previous two edge rushers as he is explosive off the line of scrimmage and strong enough to knock linemen back into the quarterback and disrupt plays.

“He combines his explosion as well as his strength, so he’s a strong at the point [of attack] type of player,” Bears head coach John Fox said on a conference call with the Vikings media on Thursday. “He is pretty relentless from snap to whistle, so I think those are qualities that are beneficial to anybody who plays up front in both the run and the pass rush.”

Last year against the Vikings, McPhee was in the backfield on a regular basis and he did so in a variety of ways. On this play, the Bears line him up wide and he uses his long arms and strength to separate from Matt Kalil, who appeared to be anticipating McPhee going to the outside.

And there’s a reason why Kalil was thinking McPhee was go wide on him. The Bears use him on both sides. Here he flies off around the tackle and forces Teddy Bridgewater out of the pocket.

The Vikings should be concerned about another one of the ways the Bears use McPhee, which is to stunt back inside. Minnesota has had frequent issues with communication – and who can blame them since they have seen both starting tackles lost to injury. So we can expect to see Chicago use McPhee in ways that will call for good communication by the Vikings up front.

Another thing about McPhee: He’s also a little intense. The veteran rusher was asked about coming back and making a difference for the Bears earlier this week.

“[I’m] just a nasty, hard-nosed, gone-crazy on the field type of guy. I’m just going to bring a physical impact, man,” Pernell told the Chicago media.

The post McPhee’s return could present issues for Vikings appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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