Stopping the Run
In Seattle on Monday, the Vikings’ run defense was absolutely gashed by the Seahawks. Seattle ran for 218 yards against Minnesota and it was very ugly.
The Seahawks rushers were getting about five yards before a single Vikings defender even came close to touching them. Seattle running backs, whether it was Chris Carson or Rashaad Penny, would then lower their shoulders or drive their legs and pick up an additional three or four yards.
The worst part about this was that the Seahawks were able to still pound the ball up the middle when Minnesota’s defense knew it was coming.
Late in the game, when Seattle was trying to milk the clock out, it was obvious they were going to run the ball. They did and Carson gained 20 yards on his first three carries of the drive. That cannot happen and the Vikings have to shore up this issue immediately.
Minnesota has been pretty good against the run all season, so the poor performance on Monday night was a bit of a head-scratcher. There could be some reasons why it happened though.
Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph may not have been at 100 percent healthy. It seemed like he was getting rotated out pretty often against the Seahawks.
Armon Watts and Jaleel Johnson were in the game more than usual in place of Joseph and they both aren’t exactly walls against the run. When Joseph was in, maybe his knee was still bugging him and not allowing him to play up to his usual high standards.
Another reason why the Minnesota defense struggled to stop the run was the fact that they were just gassed. The Seahawks had the ball for 19 more minutes than the Vikings on Monday.
That third quarter was especially brutal and Minnesota’s defense was constantly out on the field. They got worn down and Seattle wisely took advantage of that by pounding the rock up the middle over and over again.
The Vikings can easily fix this by having long drives of their own to keep their defense fresh. Another week of rest will also help guys like Shamar Stephen and Joseph get closer to being fully healthy.