Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday’s Week Three battle between the Vikings and Lions.
Vikings DE Jared Allen vs. Lions OLT Jeff Backus
Allen has been good through two games, and the defense really hasn't been the problem. But with the offense clearly in a transition period right now,Allen and the "D" probably need to make a few big plays Sunday to ensure victory. Allen can do that, and he's a better rusher at the Metrodome, where he uses the crowd noise to his advantage. He has a great rip move and sets up offensive tackles well throughout the game for countermoves he has planned down the line.
Backus, of course, was responsible for the blind-side hit on Matthew Stafford that has him sitting on the bench with a shoulder injury right now. The Eagles' pass rushers also gave him some fits at times last week. Backus is trying to get on the same page with new OLG Rob Sims on stunts and twists, communicating about which guy needs to pick up which rusher.
Although Backus is a solid veteran and good technician, he could have trouble with Allen. Backus did a nice job last season with the Lions slanting the blocking toward Allen, so help likely again will be needed. Chipping backs and tight ends also will be a part of the equation. Otherwise, the Lions might be down another quarterback.