Make Mack’s path to the quarterback difficult
One of the most obvious ways to try to slow down anyone is to have the Vikings simply attempt to put a double team on Mack. It doesn’t seem like anything groundbreaking, but it was something that took the Vikings a full game to figure out after Mack dominated the first meeting.
In the Week 11 matchup at Soldier Field last year, Mack was a menace to the Viking offense and terrorized left tackle Riley Reiff for most of the night. He racked up a fumble that stalled a Vikings drive deep in Chicago territory in the first quarter to go with five quarterback pressures and one sack.
This was the result of Reiff being left routinely in one-on-one matchups with Mack, which the best pass-rusher in the game predictably won.
The Vikings attempted to change things up in the second meeting with the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 17 and while their passing offense sputtered out overall, there was a different approach. While Mack wasn’t double-teamed the entire game, there were rare instances where there was one guy to beat to get to Cousins.
With Kyle Rudolph, Dalvin Cook and others chipping at Mack, it at least gave Cousins the opportunity to find a receiver downfield. While that didn’t lead to success since Cousins amounted to just 132 passing yards on the afternoon, it did slow Mack down, with just four pressures (all hurries).
The Vikings idea to throw more bodies at Mack didn’t lead to a win, but it was at least effective in minimizing his impact.