Sauce, Quinnen Key Jets Players at Vikings

The New York Jets are the latest team to visit Minnesota and will end a run of three home games for the Vikings. It also ends a five-game run of the Vikings taking on some of the NFL’s best defenses. Before the New York teams visit, the Vikings have played Washington, Buffalo, Dallas, and New England, assembling an impressive 3-1 record.

The Jets sit third in the AFC East division with a 7-4 record. A win would situate them just one win behind division leaders, the Buffalo Bills. In such a competitive division and the strong AFC conference, the Jets need to keep winning to keep their playoff hopes strong.

If the Jets come to Minneapolis and beat the Vikings, it will be primarily due to a dominant defensive performance. That’s where the strength of this Jets team lies. Two players for the Jets will need big games.

Sauce Gardner

Our Staff Prediction for Jets at Vikings
New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner. © Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Who remembers when Gardner was the favored name among the mock drafters for the Vikings selection in the 2022 draft? How good would that have been?

Unfortunately, the closer we got to draft day, the more Gardner’s draft stock rose. The Jets would select him with the fourth overall pick, which already looks like a great choice. Gardner has taken the league by storm, similar to Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. It’s no surprise, then, that there is excitement surrounding their impending matchup on Sunday.

Will the Jets have Garnder go man-to-man with Jefferson? Doing so has not ended well for other teams, but the Jets corner is already making a case for being the best cornerback in the league. Pro Football Focus rates him as such, with an overall grade of 86.7. This is very much a case of the best against the best and should provide compelling viewing. It would be a massive statement if the rookie could lock down Jefferson.

Quinnen Williams

Vikings Have Seen Murderer's Row on Defense
Oct 31, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) and New York Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Williams is a destroyer in the middle of the Jets defensive line. Equally good in run defense and pass rush, Williams can take over a game. So far this season, he has 38 total pressures, 19 hurries, 19 QB hits, 7 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 2 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. He is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the game.

Next to him, the Jets have Sheldon Rankins, so it will be a tough day for the Vikings interior offensive linemen. Garrett Bradbury and Ezra Cleveland are having solid seasons, but this will be a big test of how far they have come. Rookie Ed Ingram has endured a difficult start to life in the NFL regarding pass blocking. Last week against New England, PFF gave him a pass-blocking grade of 72.8, by some distance, his best performance of the season. He needs to perform at that level again to stand a chance against Williams and Rankins.

The Cowboys nullified the Vikings offense by getting constant pressure on Kirk Cousins. Expect the Jets to attempt the same game plan. The Vikings can’t afford to let Williams take over the game. Quick passes like we saw against New England last week can help get the offense going. I don’t expect Cousins to have much time in the pocket on Sunday.