The Vikings Offseason Acquisitions Are Crucial Heading into Philly


Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Here in Brazil there’s a famous phrase “Winning is good but winning against Argentina is even better”. We Vikings fans can say that winning is good but winning against the Packers is even better. And it certainly was more special due to the circumstances. In the first game with Kevin O’Connell, we saw that all of that “the team has a totally different vibe” talk is real. Of course, it was just one game, but the energy has completely changed in Minnesota.

This next game against the Eagles will be a tough one. The crowd in Philadelphia is absolutely crazy and the atmosphere will be very hostile. Their trench game is very good and it will be a huge test, especially on our defense. The Eagles’ offense leads the NFL in rushing TDs and is top 3 in yards. Their defense is bottom 5 in yards and TDs, but their defensive line is different when rookie Jordan Davis is on the field.

Stopping this running game will be tough considering the Vikings surrender 111 yards and 6.2 per carry. Philly’s backfield may not have a household name, but their abilities combined with Jalen Hurts’ ability to escape, as well as a creative running game make for a headache. If that’s not enough, their receiving corps includes Dallas Goedert, second year WR DeVonta Smith, and newly acquired AJ Brown. Don’t be fooled, even though he runs really well, Hurts can move the ball through the air.

Ed Ingram, Offensive Guard

So let’s start with the rookie. I’ll confess that back in April this pick wasn’t my favorite, but Ed Ingram sure did a lot to prove me wrong since then. He was one of the stars during the offseason training program, which earned him the starting job at right guard. His debut was a genuine “promising player but still a rookie” one.

The LSU product earned one of PFF‘s highest run-blocking grades and did well in pass protection as well. But, as I said, he still had his rookie moments, especially when lining up against Kenny Clark. He allowed the sack by Preston Smith and other pressures, but still had a good first game. If he can improve his pass protection – won’t blame him too much, the Packers have a stacked DL – Ingram will be another really good player for the “Minnesota Moving Company”, as Paul Allen likes to say.

One of Ingram’s tasks will be to stop fellow rookie Jordan Davis, something that’s way easier said than done. Ingram was one of the best guards opening up rushing lanes in week 1, but Davis was also the highest-rated rookie by PFF and had a 69% run stop win rate (3rd amongst DTs).

Chandon Sullivan, Cornerback

Sullivan had a fairly quiet game- largely because Rodgers was forced into a bad game. He almost had a beautiful interception and gave up a huge play. Apart from those plays, he didn’t appear much, which usually is a good thing for a defensive back. Cornerback is the weakest part of the roster, and if Sullivan can show up as a good/reliable nickel CB, the secondary will get some much-needed improvement.

No disrespect to the Packers, but Brown and Smith are miles better than Green Bay’s receiving corps. Although AJ Brown will most likely spend the game lining up outside the numbers, Smith can line up basically anywhere, and maybe this is a matchup that Nick Sirianni will want to explore.

Jordan Hicks, Linebacker

Hicks was one of Adofo-Mensah’s biggest acquisitions for 2022. A really good LB who for sure showed his prowess to stop the run. When I was watching the game live I had the feeling that his run defense hasn’t been that good. Boy, how wrong was I?

Hicks had a huge impact stopping Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, and his 14 tackles are proof of that. He also made sure to do a highlight play, sacking and forcing a fumble (recovered by Dalvin Tomlinson) on Rodgers.

However, he must do a better job in coverage. All of the 8 passes thrown near him were completions for a total of 87 yards and a rating of 112.0. This defense asks a lot from the linebackers and Hicks has the ability to do it at a high level.If Hicks does another good job defending the run, the game will be easier.

Za’Darius Smith, Outside Linebacker

If we can summarize Smith’s game in one word it would be clutch. He and Phillips combined for a huge stop on 4&goal and had his first sack with the Vikings on a 3rd down. But, apart from those plays, he couldn’t come close to Rodgers.

I know that his playtime was limited last year (had a back injury in week 1), but going against backup tackles, he and Hunter should’ve been able to affect the pass in more opportunities. Of course, his debut was still a reason for excitement, but I felt a little disappointed. Maybe the hype got the better of me this time.

Harrison Phillips, Defensive Tackle

Phillips was, in my opinion, the best debutant in this group. One of his three tackles was on that 4th & Goal with Smith, and he had a couple of pressures. But, more than that, he did his job closing gaps in the run game. When you’re playing with two deep safeties, the defensive line needs to close the gaps and allow the LBs and secondary to make the play.

That’s why Phillips was hired and that’s what he did last Sunday. And it’ll be important that he does it again during MNF because the Eagles have one of the best rushing attacks in the league. If he can push the pocket and get in Hurts’ face, it will be a bonus, but it’s primordial that he stops the run.


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