Vikings-Lions matchup of the day: Tuesday

Posted Sept. 20, 2011 @ 7:11 p.m.
Posted By Christian West

Here's a key matchup to consider in Sunday's game against the Lions:

Vikings interior offensive line vs. Lions DTs

Given QB Donovan McNabb's early-season struggles, it should come as no surprise that the Vikings need to establish RB Adrian Peterson early and often in the running game. However, that could be difficult given the matchup in the trenches this week.

The Lions have one of the most formidable DT tandems in the league with Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh. Williams is an underrated player with good strength at the point of attack and deceptive quickness. Suh is arguably the strongest player in the league with great hands and excellent footwork inside. The line could become a true nightmare when first-round pick Nick Fairley recovers from his foot injury.

Power players usually give the Vikings' offensive line difficulties. Williams is expected to match up with Vikings C John Sullivan. Although Sullivan is a smart player who's good at adjusting the protections, he struggles mightily when having to deal with stronger linemen who can penetrate. Veteran OLG Steve Hutchinson will also see Williams often. Hutchinson's days of being a dominant lineman, though, have passed.

Suh is a mismatch for virtually everyone he lines up across from, and Anthony Herrera is no exception. Herrera has been an average to above-average right guard, but he could join the long list of linemen who've had long days dealing with Suh.

The Vikings could try to run away from the middle by using more toss and stretch plays to exploit the edge. Using FB Jim Kleinsasser as a lead-blocker in two-back sets might also be necessary to help create room up the middle.