When the Raiders left the field on Sunday, the turned the page. Now, they must focus on the Minnesota Vikings. On offense, the Vikings presents an intriguing challenge for Oakland. Now, we’ll discuss that in a minute. The key for Oakland remains to forget the Chiefs. For example, how they need to attack the Minnesota offense differs.
Granted, the name Kevin Stefanski should not ring any bells outside Minnesota. Yet, since 2006, he remains a part of the Vikings organization. On top of that, Stefanski bridges the gap from departed coordinator Pat Shurmur. First, Stefanski inherited Shurmur’s love of establishing the run early and often. In fact, The Vikings rank third in the league with 185 yards per game. As a result, Stefanski takes the air out of the ball and prefers to batter defenses. The Raiders need to flat out, stop the run. Stopping the run is the first thing that Paul Guenther must capitalize.
After signing a three-year deal that guaranteed him 84 million dollars, life in Minnesota has not treated Kirk Cousins exceptionally well. First, for that salary, 9-8-1 does not strike you as great. Yet, Cousins, when faring well, throws an accurate ball. More importantly, he will test secondaries vertically. Now, Cousins’ mobility allows his receivers to gain separation. Under those circumstances, the Raiders need to get him to the ground. At the least, mix the blitzes and actually adjust on the fly. After watching Sunday’s game, visions of Ken Norton appeared.
Finally, Dalvin Cook appears healthy. The former FSU standout brings big-play potential to the field. Not the largest back, Cook will use surprising power to escape futile arm tackles. In addition, Cook’s sure hands gives Cousins another weapon in the passing game. Cook wins on flares and is a nightmare on the wheel route. The Raiders need to use Nicholas Morrow to stick with Cook. No other linebacker can stay close. Meanwhile, rookie Alexander Mattison uses a downhill thump that complements Cook.
Despite owning a run-first profile, the Vikings’ duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thieken should worry the Raiders. Diggs’ ultra-crisp route running and sure hands present issues. He will extend the intermediate coverage boundaries. Gareon Conley can’t lag too far behind. While not a burner, Diggs will accelerate into chunk yardage. On the other hand, Adam Thielen is a much larger target with a bit more burst down the field. Strangely, the Vikings do not feature the tight end. Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith have not figured into the offense. However, after Travis Kelce torched the Raiders, that thought must focus on him.
In reality, the Raiders need to stop Dalvin Cook. Stefanski wants to feed him the ball at least twenty times. With that said, once again, the defensive line, needs to step up. More importantly, the ends needs to get after the run.