The Las Vegas Raiders continue their preseason run against the Minnesota Vikings in week one at Allegiant Stadium.
The Mike Zimmer era comes to a close in Minnesota and for the first time in nearly a decade, the Vikings defense will be operating differently.
The young offensive minded Kevin O'Connell replaces Zimmer as the Vikings' head coach, who is coming off from winning the Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.
“Looking for non-Mike Zimmer reasons why the Vikings went a disappointing 15-18 over the past two years? Start with Hunter missing 26 of those 33 games. The youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 career sacks, Hunter is one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league when healthy. Unfortunately, each of his last two seasons have been cut short due to significant injuries,” said Will Ragatz of Inside the Vikings.
Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith and Patrick Peterson will be instrumental pieces in rebuilding the Vikings defense that were atrocious last season.
“The Vikings think Hunter and new edge partner Za'Darius Smith are going to wreak havoc all year in Ed Donatell's defense. With the secondary still a bit of a question mark, they need all of the pressure they can get,” added Ragatz.
Kendricks, the All-Pro linebacker will be without his partner in crime Anthony Barr, who remains as a free-agent this summer.
Under O’Connell’s direction, the Vikings will be switching their defensive scheme from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4, which will benefit its roster and find a way to stop the run.
The Raiders depth on offense is loaded with talent but unfortunately after the Vikings game, NFL teams will be tasked to trim their roster from 90 to 85 just two days after playing the Vikings.
So rotating its players throughout the game will be critical for the team.
As mentioned before the Vikings run defense was atrocious, so this may be an area where we may start to see that loaded running back group trim down a bit.
The Raiders hope they can evaluate its players into finding the best 53-man roster.
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