The Minnesota Vikings defense has a reputation in name, but Mitch Trubisky may have a chance to connect deep down the field against them
The Minnesota Vikings had a top ten defense last season and added Kirk Cousins to bolster their quarterback situation. While the offense has generally improved, the team has taken a step back on the defensive side of the ball.
The big area where this team is lacking is explosive pass defense. This is the percent of explosive passes allowed. In this area, the Minnesota Vikings rank 30th in the NFL. To put that into perspective the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank 28th in explosive pass defense and the Detroit Lions rank 19th. We know what Trubisky did to those teams.
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On the flip side, the Chicago Bears are 12th in explosive pass offense. When looking at the Vikings schedule, they have not faced a murders row of quarterbacks. They have faced two teams have ranked better in explosive passes down the field in the Los Angelas Rams and New Orleans Saints. Those teams scored 38 and 30 points respectively on the Vikings.
When looking into what the Vikings have done this season, the issue has been a little bit of everything. They have given up chunk plays via play action. Their linebackers have been an issue led by Anthony Barr who struggled early into the season and has been injured recently.
Xavier Rhodes has been banged up over the past three weeks, and Andrew Sendejo has not played since week five. One of their healthy secondary members, Trae Waynes is giving up nine yards per target this season.
They are struggling in all areas. Of course, they are coming off of the bye week, so Barr, Rhodes, and Sendejo could all make progress. Griffen has also played in the past two games.
The Vikings have supplemented some of their issues down the field with a strong pass rush. They are tied for the lead in sacks this season. Detroit and Tampa Bay have similar explosive pass defenses, but Tampa Bay is 23rd in sacks, and Detroit ranks 12th. The Vikings have won enough games to get respect thanks to their pass rush.
Still, if Mitch Trubisky has time, he is going to have success. We all know Trubisky is going to take shots. He always takes shots. They are going to be there. We will get to see whether or not he can hit them on Sunday.