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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings’ defense held rookie QBs in check last season

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings went 0-2 against rookie quarterbacks in 2016, but to no fault of their defense.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings held Carson Wentz to just 16-for-28 with 138 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Then in a critical matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott managed only 139 yards on 12-for-18 passing and was sacked three times.

Wentz’s total yards and adjusted yards per attempt were the worst of his rookie year. Likewise, Prescott’s yardage total was the lowest of his debut season.

After facing a group of strong quarterbacks to start the season – Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford – the Vikings’ defense will get its first shot at an inexperienced QB in rookie Mitch Trubisky, who is slated to make his first career start.

Defensive coordinator George Edwards called the defensive plays last year against the Cowboys as head coach Mike Zimmer missed the game with emergency eye surgery.

Edwards said that, like Prescott, the Bears’ No. 2 overall pick is mobile and can move outside the pocket.

“They put him on the move quite a bit with boots, waggles and sprint-outs and things like that throughout the preseason,” Edwards said. “So he seemed to be able to move around pretty good in the pocket. We’ll definitely have to be smart to try and keep him in the pocket and hopefully be able to cover up his reads. It’s all tied together how we can stay as tight as we can in the coverages and being able to not let him manipulate us by not moving around in the pocket.”

Trubisky ran one of the fastest times at the NFL Combine, notching a 4.67 40-yard dash. In the preseason, he rushed five times for 48 yards. Trubisky also posted a 106.3 quarterback rating in 53 preseason passes.

“He played what, 120 snaps in the preseason, so we had a look at those,” Edwards said. “We have a good feel for what we think he is. Systematically, we think they are going to do a lot of the similar things. But when you have a guy like him, you have to do things that cater to his abilities and what it is he is able to do.”

The former Tar Heel, who tossed 30 touchdowns in his final year at North Carolina, will become the third quarterback from the 2017 class to start. Houston’s DeShaun Watson has gotten off to a strong start to his career, going 2-2 with a 91.6 rating, while Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer has a 50.9 rating with three touchdowns and eight interceptions.

As Mitch Trubisky preps for first career start, a look back at what draft analysts said

The post Vikings’ defense held rookie QBs in check last season appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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