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Vikings: 3 keys to defeating the Oakland Raiders

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800-minnesota-vikings-logo

Updated: September 21, 2019 08:54 PM

1. Avoid the trap game

If this week's match-up against Oakland is giving you flashbacks to their week three game against Buffalo last season, you're not alone.

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The 27-6 home loss to the Bills last year was sandwiched between the Vikings' game at Green Bay and a tough road test against the Los Angeles Rams. Sunday's game comes after an emotional loss to the Packers and just ahead of their trip to Soldier Field against the defending division champion Bears.

The Vikings need to stay focused on the here and now and quickly move past last week's loss.

"It’s a long season, there’s 14 more games left," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. "What we do in the next 14 games will determine what we do, whether it’s myself or Kirk (Cousins) or the defense or the receivers, whatever it is. It’s a week-to-week proposition, you try and overcome and you get back to work on the next week. That’s what we’re going to do."

2. Get a better performance from Garrett Bradbury

1st round pick Garrett Bradbury has struggled in his first two weeks in the NFL. 

Pro Football Focus ranks him 32nd among 32 centers in the NFL. Pass protection has been his main problem - allowing 8 pressures over his first two games.

"I think the first two ballgames for any young center, any young player, you’re going to have some plays that you want back, but we can point out a few plays where again, he’s working on his technique, but there’s other plays where he doesn’t look like a rookie," Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said. "He’s getting up to the second level, his movement skills are outstanding. And then running that huddle, getting us in and out of the right protection calls."

Neither of the the Raiders' starting defensive tackles, Maurice Hurst and Johnathan Hankins, have recorded a sack so far this season.

3. Stop the run

The Vikings' run defense has been a little leaky through the first two weeks of the season.

At Lambeau Field, Packers running back Aaron Jones ran for 116 yards on 23 carries. On the season, the Vikings have allowed 217 yards on the ground and are giving up 4.3 yards per carry. 

The run game is one of the Raiders' strengths. They're tied for 8th in the NFL with 4.8 yards a carry. Rookie 1st round pick Josh Jacobs has carried the load with 184 of their 227 yards on the ground.

"You’ve got to line up and be on your P’s and Q’s and understand he’s coming to compete each and every down," Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards said about Jacobs. "We’ve got to do a good job of rallying, keeping our leverage and making sure that gaps are sound, all those kind of things, and get to the football."

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