Vikings Week 1 Preview: 5 Questions With Ramblin Fan


To prepare for the Minnesota Vikings season opener against the St. Louis Rams, I recently had the opportunity to talk with Nathan Kearns.  Mr. Kearns is currently the Co-Editor for the St. Louis Rams fansite, Ramblin’ Fan.

Here are the 5 questions that I asked him about the upcoming game on Sunday:

1) A lot has been made of Sam Bradford‘s season ending injury.  Do you feel there is a huge dropoff between him and his backup, Shaun Hill?

"Aug 23, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsIf by “dropoff” you mean talent. Yes. If you mean in terms of actual production on the field. Probably not. Luckily, the St. Louis Rams have already been through this drill, when Kellen Clemens was forced into the starting lineup for the final nine games of last season. With Shaun Hill manning the helm, the Rams will revert back to their ground-and-pound offense that was successful for most of last season, and rely on their handful of explosive playmakers to make their “new” starting quarterback look adequate."

2) The Rams have one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL.  What will be their key to slowing down Minnesota’s offense?

"Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Last season, the Rams were inconsistent (at best) versus the run. On any given week, they could either stonewall a Top 10 rushing attack, or allow 150+ yards to a mediocre backfield. James Laurinaitis and Michael Brockers will need to control the middle of field if the Rams have any shot on Sunday."

3) Minnesota has added a lot of young talent on defense.  How do you see them matching up against the  St. Louis offense?

"In the trenches, I think the Minnesota defensive line will have trouble getting much penetration against a St. Louis Rams offensive line that is (at least for now) fully healthy. Against the run, the linebackers will likely have their hands full with blockers getting to the second level, which will likely put a lot of pressure on an unproven secondary. If the Vikings can stop the run early, the Rams offense could turn stagnant very quickly. If not, Brian Schottenheimer and Co. might have their way against a fairly inexperienced front-seven."

4) Who is one impact rookie that Vikings fans should know about before this game that could have a major impact?

"Aaron Donald will be the rookie to watch for, rushing from the interior of the St. Louis Rams defensive line. He likely won’t get the start over incumbent veteran, Kendall Langford, but will certainly be heavily involved in the rotation, particular on obvious passing downs. With Chris Long, Robert Quinn, and Michael Brockers all demanding some form of “extra attention,” it wouldn’t be surprising to see Donald manage a number of key plays in the Vikings’ backfield."

5) What is your prediction for a winner and final score of this game?  Do you have any other notable predictions to add?

"20-13 Rams over Vikings.  This should be a relatively low-scoring bout between offenses that lack a “starting-caliber” quarterback. Adrian Peterson will undoubtedly get his yards, but should have trouble taking over the game against a very stout St. Louis Rams run defense. The Rams should win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football, which will end up being the determining factor in the game."

A huge thanks go out to FanSided’s Ramblin’ Fan and Nathan Kearns for taking the time to answer these questions.  The game on Sunday should be a fantastic one that is closely contested.  Make sure that you don’t miss the Vikings season opener at noon Central Time.