Vikings-Jets matchup of the day: Saturday

Posted Oct. 09, 2010 @ 10:06 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

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

Jets RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene vs. Vikings MLB E.J. Henderson

The job of slowing down the Jets' backs will be the responsibility of the entire front seven, naturally. But Henderson, who is on the field for most plays, will play a large role in helping contain them.

Henderson is off to a fine start this season, perhaps better than anyone could have expected following his broken leg last December. He has used his strong instincts against the run to benefit him and has done a good job of shedding and disengaging from blocks. He's less effective in space than in traffic, but Henderson takes good angles and can strike ballcarriers with force. Henderson is especially good in short-yardage situations and has a knack for jarring the ball loose.

The Jets have rediscovered their run game, and it hasn't hurt that Tomlinson looks like the 2007 version of himself. Greene has been less consistent while Tomlinson shines, but he has excellent leg drive and can muscle through the hole. The Jets' offensive line opened huge holes against the Bills, and those won't necessarily be there as gaping-wide in this contest. The Vikings' defensive line rarely is gashed for large chunks of yardage.

But the two-headed monster can wear down the front and then set up play-action passing downfield, especially with Santonio Holmes back. The Jets play-action pass more than almost any team, so stopping the run in the first quarter will be a crucial goal for the Vikings.