What are some of the key matchups that the Minnesota Vikings need to win in order to get a victory over the Atlanta Falcons and improve their record to 5-4?
Even though the Minnesota Vikings lost starting quarterback Kirk Cousins for the season in their Week 8 matchup, the clock keeps turning, and it's now time for Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Like the Vikings, Atlanta also currently sits with a 4-4 record on the season, meaning this is a big game for both sides in their push for the playoffs.
With no Cousins or Justin Jefferson, Minnesota is going to need everyone to step up in order to win.
There will be critical matchups all over the field, as there usually are, but with players down on both sides, it will be a full-on battle to secure the win.
Which key matchups does Minnesota need to win on the field in order to secure their fifth victory of the season?
1. Vikings defense vs. Falcons run game
Heading into Week. 9, the Falcons are 10th in the NFL in rushing yards per game and fifth in rushing attempts, showing their robust scheme of running early and often.
With a budding star in Atlanta rookie Bijan Robinson out of the backfield, there needs to be a lot of focus from Minnesota on stopping their opponent's run game dead in its tracks.
The Vikings have been middle of the pack when it comes to rush defense this year, but they'll need to turn things up against the Falcons.
With Atlanta's top receiver Drake London being ruled out for the contest, this should hopefully allow Minnesota to focus more on the Falcons' rushing attack, as the next-best receiver on Atlanta's depth chart is Van Jefferson.
It's going to be a dogfight in the trenches, but if the Vikings can slow down Atlanta's rushing attack, their chances of being victorious will skyrocket.