3 favorable matchups for the Vikings in Week 1 vs. the Bengals

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /

Cook should feast against Cincinnati

The Bengals have done a decent job of improving their defense over the years by adding proven veterans at key spots. They let Carl Lawson leave in free agency this spring but replaced him with Trey Hendrickson off the edge. The front line in Cincinnati is not horrible, but the front seven as a unit is worth attacking.

Dalvin Cook, one of the league’s top backs, is going to be a problem for pretty much any team that lines up across from him. The Bengals are definitely no exception, given their current situation on defense. The front four is solid, but it’s not going to turn any heads, especially with the improved Vikings offensive line.

The linebackers are not great either. Logan Wilson showed flashes as a rookie, and he has the athleticism to make some key plays over the middle, but he is far from a star. Germaine Pratt is not going to hold a candle to Cook in the open field, so if he can get into the second level, Cook will almost certainly have a chance at the safeties.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Akeem Davis-Gaither get involved for Cincinnati to help balance out the speed from Cook in the run game. The only way the Bengals will be able to contain him is if they crash to the ball and sell out to defend the run.

Of course, doing so is only going to make things easier for a dynamic receiving duo.