5 Packers players the Vikings should worry about in Week 1

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Za'Darius Smith
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Za'Darius Smith /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Kenny Clark /

Kenny Clark – DT

As a rookie last season, Vikings center Garrett Bradbury struggled against big interior pass rushers. One who gave him fits both times they faced off was Green Bay’s Kenny Clark.

Clark destroyed the young center on his way to seven tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hits, and a tackle for a loss in the two games they faced off.

Clark used his big 6-foot-3″ 314-pound frame to overpower Bradbury and the defensive tackle was in the face of Kirk Cousins often last season. Not only was he in the face of Cousins, but he got into the backfield and stuffed Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook before he could get through a hole or cut outside.

With the Vikings starting offensive line basically intact from a season ago, and arguably a hair worse, Clark could feast upon the unit’s interior again on Sunday.

There is some hope that things are better this season for Minnesota when it comes to blocking Clark. Bradbury apparently dedicated himself to the weight room this offseason in an attempt to improve his overall strength. If this paid off, he should be better at anchoring against opposing defensive tackles and be able to win his fair share of battles.

The Vikings also have a new face at left guard in Dakota Dozier. While Dozier isn’t a top tier interior lineman, he should be better than last year’s starting left guard, Pat Elflein. Having someone different at left guard could help keep Clark out of the backfield more than Minnesota able to a season ago.

The flip side is that Elflein has just moved over to be the Vikings’ starting right guard. Clark could still choose to come crashing down on him and find it easier to get through to the backfield on that side.

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Minnesota is dedicated to running the football and if they want to find success this week, they’ll have to figure out a way to neutralize Clark.