After an emotional trip to Lambeau, the Vikings return home to take on the worst team in the NFL. The Bills have a roster devoid of talent on offense with glaring holes on defense. Add a rookie quarterback with accuracy issues and slow processing to the mix, and it’s a recipe for a rout.
Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups for week three.
Mike Zimmer is one of the best defensive schemers in the league. This week, his defense gets to face an unpolished quarterback with limited weapons and a bad offensive line. Assuming the Vikings can stop the run, I expect Zimmer to display a wide variety of defensive packages to confuse him. Josh Allen will likely struggle, but he is a good athlete. Zimmer and the Vikings will need to make sure they keep Allen in the pocket where his athletic ability will be limited. If Allen can extend plays outside the pocket, his strong arm can create some big plays down the field that make this game closer than it should be.
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen vs. Bills’ Secondary
If the Bills have a strength on defense, it is their secondary. TreDavious White was a promising rookie last year, and Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are both quality starters. Assuming Diggs runs more routes against White than Thielen does, I like Thielen to have the bigger day running routes from the slot. Thielen is already the target leader for Kirk Cousins, and I expect him to see the most in this game as well. Assuming Thielen plays up to his standard, another 100-yard game is likely.
Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray vs. Bills’ Front Seven
The Vikings have struggled running the ball this year. Injuries to their offensive line and matchups against two underrated interior defensive lines are likely the main factors. This week, however, the Vikings have two things working in their favor. First, is the return of Center Pat Elflein. Elflein’s athleticism was a big positive for the Vikings running game last year. His return should boost that unit as a whole. Secondly, is the run defense of the Bills. The Bills have been destroyed on the ground since trading away Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars at mid-season last year. Whether it’s Cook or Murray receiving the majority of the carries this week, the Vikings should be able to establish and effective rushing attack for the first time this season. Murray should see extra carries in the fourth quarter, assuming the Vikings have a two-score lead, as expected.