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Vikings-Jets matchup of the day: Friday

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Posted Oct. 08, 2010 @ 11:19 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Minnesota's Week Five game against the Jets:

Vikings ORT Phil Loadholt vs. Jets DE Shaun Ellis

Loadholt is not off to the best start this season after a decent rookie campaign. He was up and down his first year, flashing some tremendous power but also a penchant for penalties and missed assignments. This season, however, has been more bad than good, at least in terms of his pass blocking. He has succumbed to speed and counter moves and has played high and with poor balance.

Ellis is not a pure pass rusher, but he plays with good leverage and is better at getting to the quarterback than most 3-4 ends. He injured his left knee last week while sacking Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick but should be fine after an MRI showed no structural damage. Swelling, though, could be a problem and might limit him.

The Jets also figure to overload Loadholt's side and rush either Bart Scott or Bryan Thomas, two good upfield rushers. They also could loop the two players in order to cause confusion for blocking schemes. Loadholt will have the benefit of the Vikings' good-blocking tight ends, but he also must know who to pick up and execute his blocks. He has the mass and the physical ability to carry out his assignments but doesn't always play quickly or recognize what the defense is trying to do.

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