Sunday, November 29, 2015

Charles Woodson

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(image courtesy of

After a Blair Walsh overtime win against St. Louis last week, the Vikings are now 6-2 and tied with Green Bay to lead the NFC North division. The Packers play the Lions this week, which will most likely be another win for Green Bay, so it’s even more important for the Vikings to come away with a victory Sunday.

The Raiders are No. 2 behind Denver in the AFC West division with a 4-4 record. They are coming off a narrow loss to Pittsburgh and will be hungry for a win at home. Derek Carr is averaging 262 passing yards per game and has 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions on the season. Add in the speed and hands of rookie receiver Amari Cooper, and Oakland is no easy contest. Don’t forget, Minnesota is also going against its former offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave.

Most experts are choosing the Raiders over the Vikings, so Mike Zimmer and his team have something to prove. Lets take a look at how Minnesota’s offense will match up against its opponents in Week 10.

Offensive Line

The offensive line allowed only one sack against Teddy Bridgewater last week, although he did receive a decent amount of pressure. There have been pros and cons for the line all season, one of the positives being that the unit has reduced the number of penalties committed after last year. The Vikings as a whole are the least-penalized team in the NFL; as Denver’s Aqib Talib found out last week, penalties can prove significant to a game’s outcome. With Joe Berger looking to be the starting center through the rest of the season in John Sullivan‘s absence, the offensive line has been working to hold its own.

While Oakland used to be known for its defense, the team currently ranks No. 30 in the league (above only the Saints and the Giants). Protecting Bridgewater and blocking against the Raiders will not be like defending the Rams or Broncos, and Minnesota’s O-Line should do well in this situation. The Raiders’ largest threat is linebacker Malcolm Smith; Smith has 59 tackles (50 solo) and three sacks on the season thus far. The line will need to contain Smith in order to keep Minnesota in the game offensively.

On Tuesday, the Vikings announced that they have already parted ways with undrafted tackle Mark Jackson.

Jackson came out of Glenville State, after spending some time at Illinois, and received a $3,000 bonus for signing with Minnesota after he wasn’t drafted in April.

The team now has an open roster spot and it is unclear how they plan to fill it.  Some of the top free agents currently available include running back Ahmad Bradshaw, wide out Laurent Robinson, offensive tackle Eric Winston, and guard Brandon Moore on offense.  On defense there are still talents out there like defensive end John Abraham, tackle Richard Seymour, linebackers Daryl Smith and Brian Urlacher, cornerback Will Middleton, and safety Charles Woodson.

More likely, however, is that the Vikings have their eye on another undrafted rookie that they would like to know better.

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