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Vikings-Raiders matchup of the day: Tuesday

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By Christian West

Here's a key matchup to watch in Sunday's Vikings-Raiders game.

Vikings DE Jared Allen vs. Raiders OLT Jared Veldheer

This is a matchup between two guys playing extremely well. Veldheer has been one of the better offensive tackles in football this season, playing exceptionally well in the running game, as well as protecting the blind side of the quarterback. He has plus athleticism and has been consistent all season.

Allen had one of his more complete games of the season Monday night because of the way he played the run, which he has struggled with at times this season. He didn't get out of position on draw plays, and on straight handoffs, he kept his outside shoulder free, which allowed him to shed blockers and make plays on the running back.

Allen will need a similar effort Sunday as the Raiders love running left behind Veldheer and make a lot of explosive plays doing so. They rank second in the league with 20 runs of 10-plus yards when running left.

If the Vikings want to stop the vaunted Raiders running game, it will be up to Allen winning at the point of attack and forcing the Raiders into 3rd-and-long situations.

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