Here's another key matchup as the Vikings prepare to play the Redskins in Washington on Saturday:
Redskins ROLB Brian Orakpo vs. Vikings OLT Charlie Johnson
A game hasn't gone by where Johnson, whom insiders believe is best fit to play guard, hasn't given up pressures. He simply doesn't have the feet to play left tackle against the pass rush or the kick-out power to anchor the run game. Saints DE Will Smith presented problems for Johnson last week, and Orakpo should do the same this week.
The Vikings haven't faced a 3-4 team since the Packers back in Week 10. Interestingly, that might have been Johnson's best game of the season, even though the 45-7 loss obviously was quite one-sided from a team standpoint. But Orakpo is a better rusher than Erik Walden, the man Johnson faced that night.
Much of the recent attention in D.C. has been paid to the man on the other side, rookie Ryan Kerrigan, who has had a terrific entry to the NFL. But Orakpo has kept pace in the pass-rush department, even with his sack total (seven) not opening a lot of eyes. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has praised Orakpo for his pressure all season, noting that several of them (he has 11 this season) forced bad passes. The Giants chipped and double-teamed Orakpo a great deal Sunday, which is a good show of respect for his abilities.
Also notable is that RB Adrian Peterson has gained only 3.5 yards per carry on runs to the left side vs. 4.8 overall. Orakpo doens't get nearly enough credit for his run defense as he stays home, reads keys better than he did as a rookie and wraps up well.