Michael Pierce and Davlin Tomlinson – DTs
These two have to be clumped together because they simply aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing and that is stopping the run.
Individually, they each had some nice plays against the Rams. But collectively, they are supposed to be this impenetrable force against opposing rushing attacks and that wasn’t the case on Sunday, and really hasn’t been all season long.
Sony Michel was Los Angeles’ lead back and he ran for 131 yards with almost a five yards per carry average. While he’s definitely a talented player, his name isn’t usually mentioned when one is asked to name the top-15 running backs in the NFL. But the Rams had no problem moving Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce out of the way creating lanes for Michel to gallop through.
Why these two aren’t more effective in stopping the run is a mystery. Pierce is huge, powerful, and surprisingly quick, yet he isn’t routinely getting in the backfield. Tomlinson is another big, beefy dude who relies on his power, but we don’t see him pushing guards back into their quarterback the way it seems to happen to Minnesota every single week when they are on offense.
The Vikings are 7-8 for many reasons, and one is their inability to stop the ground game. Tomlinson and Pierce were brought in to rectify that issue and they have failed miserably.