Getting off the Field on Third Down
The third issue the Vikings need to fix as they prepare for the Broncos again lies on the defensive side of the football. Minnesota could not get off the field on third down on Sunday and it was an issue all night long against the Cowboys.
It didn’t seem to matter if it was third and short or third and long, Dallas consistently moved the chains when they had to. The Cowboys converted around 60 percent of their third downs and that is a number that is far too high.
A lot of Dallas’ success on third down had to do with Dak Prescott’s ability to scramble and avoid sacks. Maybe it was because of the funky hip dance he did in pregame warmups, but he is one slippery bugger.
Not only did Prescott evade pressure from Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen, but he also was able to throw an accurate ball to his receiver when his body was twisted in an awkward position. The Vikings just have to give him a lot of credit for that.
Denver’s quarterback, Brandon Allen, isn’t anywhere in the same stratosphere as Prescott. He’ll be making his second career start and Minnesota’s game plan should be to pressure and hit him as often as possible. Expect Mike Zimmer to come up with some exotic looks and disguise some blitzes that the young Broncos passer won’t see coming.
A double dose of pressure and confusion should be enough to make the Vikings third-down defense much better than it was against the Cowboys.