5 most disappointing Vikings in the Week 1 loss to the Bengals

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Minnesota Vikings /

Dalvin Tomlinson – DT

Dalvin Tomlinson was brought in this offseason to shore up the Vikings’ run defense. It was a major sore spot in 2020, as the Vikings were constantly gashed up the middle, or outside by pretty much any running back they faced.

Vikings fans were pumped when they pictured Tomlinson lining up next to “The Juggernaut” Michael Pierce and rightfully assumed that opposing offenses wouldn’t be able to move the ball on the ground against this large mass of men. They only got a few snaps of this duo together during the preseason and the game against the Bengals was going to be the first real glimpse of what this tag team could do against an opposing running game.

Instead of shutting down the Bengals’ running attack, Joe Mixon carried the ball 29 times for 127 yards and a score. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Samaje Perine toted the ball five times for 22 yards for another 4.4 average per carry. Tomlinson was basically a nonfactor all game, finishing with 4 tackles on the day.

The Tomlinson/Pierce wall was supposed to be a dominating inside force that would push the pocket back into the quarterback’s face and free up the Vikings’ linebackers. After Week 1, it looks like the Vikings would’ve been better off spending that money elsewhere.