CBS Houston – There are two 4-0 teams in the NFL. One is the Denver Broncos – you might expect that one – and the other is the Minnesota Vikings – that one you might not have expected.
The question is how did the Vikings get to be a 4-0 team with all the adversity they have faced this year?
Even before the season, starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down, they traded a first and fourth round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to bring in Sam Bradford and while that has worked out. They still ended up losing two other massive parts to their offense when they lost two All-pro’s in running back Adrian Peterson and left tackle Matt Kalil.
“I think our defense is playing great right now, they’re probably playing about as well as anyone in the NFL right now on that side of the football,” Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford said.
The Vikings may not have the “brand name” players like the Texans have but the defense is every bit as good if not even slightly better. On the year the Vikings have the number two scoring defense in the NFL only allowing 12.5 points a game, the Texans are a top ten team but are giving up 18.2 points a contest.
“They just have a great collective unit at every level,” Duane Brown said of the Vikings defense, “defensive line, linebackers, secondary, they have a collective great group of players.”
Leading the way for the Vikings on defense is the 2016 version of the “Purple people eaters” back in the day, Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller and Gary Larsen all gave opposing teams tons of fits as they would cause pressure and hit the quarterback all game long.
No different in 2016 as the Texans will have to deal with a defensive front four that is one of the scariest in all of football. Massive space eaters in Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd occupy the inside while Brian Robison and Everson Griffen create pressure off the edges and all four combine to make Sunday’s a living nightmare for opposing offenses.
“Their two (defensive) tackles inside are a big part of what they do,” Brown said, “Linval Joseph is a pretty big guy about 330 pounds or so and has a pretty good variety of moves, but the main thing is power. He does a good job of stuffing the middle.”
Through four games the Vikings have the second-most sacks in the NFL with 15 trailing only the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos who have 17.
On defense, the Texans will have their hands full. The pressure will lead the way for the Vikings on Sunday, but the offense has also been a big part of why they are undefeated through the first quarter of the season.
“I think on offense we’ve done a good job at taking care of the football, not turning it over, not giving team’s extra possessions,” Bradford said.
He’s yet to make any costly mistakes, instead of forcing it to a player Bradford will throw the ball away and live to fight another day.
Without Peterson, you’d think the Vikings would struggle with team’s ready for them to throw the ball more, but it’s still been tough to stop.
“We’ve done a good job at getting everyone involved,” Bradford said. “That’s what we want to do on offense, we want to be multiple, we want to be able to get everyone involved, I think when you have 8-9 guys touch the football ball during a game obviously it makes it a little tougher for defenses to key in on certain guys.”
The Texans will have an uphill battle waiting for them on Sunday on the road in Minneapolis. The Vikings have not gotten to be a 4-0 team through smoke and mirrors, smart play and a nasty defense have made them one of the leagues best.