Stopping the run is always a critical part of a defense’s game plan. With defensive success, it forces the opponents into more second-and-long or third-and-long situations.
For the Minnesota Vikings, there have been eight different times that an opposing team has rushed for 100 or more yards against them, but there were only three times that an individual back was able to perform that feat.
This Sunday the Vikings defense will be facing one of the backs that was able to have so much success on them for the second time. Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers was one of the primary reasons why the Packers were able to control the Vikings in Week 5 on Thursday Night Football. He had 13 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota’s defense does not want him to have another performance like that and has a couple ideas on how to stop him.
“Number one, especially on the defense, is you have to be able to go out and tackle pretty well,” said linebacker Jasper Brinkley. “27 is a good back, a big back, like a battering ram. It’s going to take more than one guy to bring him down. We don’t want to leave one guy on him. He’s a tough runner.”
Having multiple defenders swarm to the ball and help out the initial tackler seemed to be a common answer throughout the locker room when players were asked how they were going to go about stopping Lacy.
“He’s a big back. Obviously, he’s done some great things,” said defensive end Brian Robison. “He’s getting better as the year goes along. He’s definitely a tough back to bring down, so we’re definitely going to have to gang-tackle him, wrap up and get him to the ground.”
Along with gang tackling as a way to stop Lacy, Vikings defenders also said they want to go low when trying to bring him down. Trying to hit a big back like Lacy doesn’t work often.
Going low will be important for the defenders, especially the defensive backs who give up significant size to the 5-foot-11, 230 pounds of Lacy. They will want to take his legs out from under him.
“He’s a good back, and he’s a guy that goes down just like all the other backs if you hit him low,” said Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson. “So you got to be smart there and just be physical with him.”
In the end, it comes down to what the players and the coaching staff have been preaching all year: Do your job. If the players fill their gaps, wrap Lacy up, and rush to the point of contact to help out their teammates they should have a successful day stopping the run.
The only problem with that is that, from time to time, the Vikings have had trouble staying disciplined in rushing defense. For that reason, they have had an up-and-down season on the stat sheet but will hope to change it this Sunday against Green Bay.
“I think our run defense has definitely been improving,” said Robinson. “We have slip-ups from time to time, but for the most part I think our defense can do some things that really stop teams from running the ball, and its going to come down to – like I always stressed – everybody just got to do their job.”
Vikings can’t sleep on ‘battering ram’ Lacy
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