Patriots vs Vikings Preview: Minnesota Head Coach, Safety Get Ready to 'Go Up Against the Best'
Posted by: Gronkowski
There’s a Nordic invasion heading to Foxboro this weekend as the Patriots host the Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon.
With the Vikings 6-4-1 and the Pats 8-3 after beating the Jets last week, New England are 5 ½ point favorites according to Vegas bookies.
The last time the Patriots had any connection to the Vikings is when they played in their home stadium for Super Bowl LII, but of course, Minneapolis players were bundled up on their couches watching that game at home by then.
Historically, the Pats are 8-3 against the Vikings, having pillaged them 30-7 when they last met in September 2014. Minnesota hasn’t won in New England since 2000, otherwise known as Bill Belichick’s rookie year as head coach. If you still need more numbers, Tom Brady is 4-0 against the team from the Bold North.
Of course, the 2018 Vikings are a very different foe especially with their pricey acquisition of QB Kirk Cousins in the offseason and coming off a resounding win over the Green Bay Packers last week.
Brady, Gronk, Edels and co. will also be going up against a defense firing on all cylinders that is highly efficient at stopping the run game.
But the Vikings aren’t arrogantly strutting into Gillette, with head coach Mike Zimmer telling reporters Wednesday that the Pats are “the best play action team in the NFL.”
Zimmer also called Brady one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and we’re not gonna argue with that.
"Their play actions look exactly like their runs," he said, according to MassLive.com. "The offensive line does an outstanding job. Brady is really good with the play actions and the receivers do a good job of getting to the spots where the linebackers or the safeties are getting sucked into."
Vikings safety Jayron Kearse has his focus on one player, however: Gronk.
““I’ve been watching the way he runs his routes and certain things he does in different types of formations,” Kearse said after watching film of Rob all week, Vikings.com reported. “I’ve been studying him pretty hard.”
“Those 50-50 balls … when Tom is throwing it up and giving him a chance to go make a play, he usually comes down [with the ball] and makes those plays,” Kearse said. “He’s not the fastest guy, but he’s big and when that ball is in the air, he can go get it.”
So what’s he gonna do about it?
“It’s really whatever the coaches call when we get out there. That’s how we’re going to go with it. It’s more of a game-flow thing and see how things go,” Kearse said. “This whole entire game ... going against one of the best tight ends in the game is something I’m definitely looking forward to.”
With both Gronk and Sony Michel returned to full force, running back Rex Burkhead is also back after being out since a neck injury against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. And he is more than ready.
“I feel good. I’m really looking forward to being back here on the field on Sunday and just being back with the team,” Burkhead said, according to Patriots.com.
Asked what he’s being doing since he was cleared to practice. No. 34 said he “just worked my tail off, doing whatever I could. I controlled what I could control.
“It’s been different, it’s been weird not being around everything ... It puts things in perspective. Makes you really appreciate your time out on the football field and in the locker room with the guys. You miss it. It feels great, practicing again and being around the guys the past few weeks.”
Another thing Burkhead has been doing lately? Becoming a first-time parent with wife Danielle, who gave birth to their son Jett last week.
“It’s been great,” Daddy Rex said when asked about fatherhood. “Got a new little boy in the family. That’s been exciting. It’s such a blessing to have a healthy boy and learning the tricks of the trade of fatherhood. It’s been a blast.”
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