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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings respect Aaron Rodgers, but know they need to limit the run

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — When the Vikings’ defense makes an opponent one-dimensional, look out.

Eli Manning joined the growing list of quarterbacks to feel the brunt of Minnesota’s diverse pressure packages this season. A lopsided score, thanks to a healthy and opportunistic defense, forced the Giants into an unhealthy pass/run ratio (39/19) and the Vikings took full advantage in a 49-17 win on Sunday night.

The return of run-stuffing nose tackle Linval Joseph perhaps came at just the right time. He was able to knock some ‘rust’ off, coach Mike Zimmer said, and they’ll need him against Eddie Lacy for the biggest game of 2015. This Sunday night decides whether the Packers (10-5) will claim their fifth straight NFC North title or if the Vikings (10-5) will dethrone them.

“It was great having Linval back,” defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. “Me and him are going to sit down some more and watch some film to get ready for this game. I feel like if me and him on page, the rest will fall into place. We’re really key to stopping that run. That’s what we have to focus on this week.”

No other opponent has been run over by Lacy, the Packers’ third-year back, quite like the Vikings. Lacy averages a NFC North-high 4.68 yards per carry in five games against Minnesota. They were just what Lacy needed to turn around a disappointing campaign last month, when he notched his first 100-yard game of the season in Week 11. He’s twice crossed the century mark since.

Just as they are now, the Vikings were at full strength on defense in that 30-13 loss at TCF Bank Stadium, and still couldn’t bring down the heavy-hitting back. In the Vikings’ three losses to Green Bay under Zimmer, Lacy has recorded a 100-yard game in each — averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

The Packers’ passing attack hasn’t been what it used to be. There’s still no questioning the respect in Minnesota for Rodgers, who is 11-4 against the Vikings in his career. To give him the full attention he commands, they’ll need to limit the Packers’ backfield duo of Lacy and James Starks.

Doing that can put the Vikings in position to do what they’ve done best, which is pressure quarterbacks. They’re 2-4 this season when allowing over 100 rushing yards.

Asked about what the Vikings need to do better against Lacy, Zimmer said simply bring him down.

“[Lacy] is a good player,” Zimmer said. “You’ve got to tackle him, you’ve got to get off of blocks. Their offensive line does a good job of not allowing you to get off of blocks and we’ve got to tackle better.”

Zimmer only needs to look to last week to see how the Arizona Cardinals held the Packers’ offense down. Arizona stuffed the run by allowing just 24 yards rushing on Green Bay’s first nine attempts before the Cardinals jumped to a 10-0 lead. The Packers largely abandoned the run, Rodgers was sacked eight times and they were blown out.

Sharrif Floyd, a former SEC-mate of Lacy’s, isn’t going to single him out as the Vikings’ boogieman.

“We just have to get to the guy with the ball, no matter who it is,” Floyd said.

The post Vikings respect Aaron Rodgers, but know they need to limit the run appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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