It may have come against the New Orleans Saints, but the effort that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford put forth in the team's Week 1 win was nothing short of phenomenal. Few could have known then that it would be 22 months before Bryant would again appear in a meaningful game on the North Shore.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense may be bad against the pass, but they are great against the run.
Needless to say, the Vikings defense doesn't look like a favorable matchup for the Steelers' All-Pro runner. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown, and running back Le'Veon Bell are all reasons why Minnesota's defense/special teams should take the week off. The physicality, they've got huge guys up front on the offensive line.
The Steelers are going to bring the pressure on Sunday and the Vikings know that. Dalvin Cook set a club rookie record by running for 127 yards in his debut.
PREDICTION: The Vikings' stout defense should be able to force Pittsburgh to be one-dimensional, and Bradford figures to hit some downfield plays vs. the Steelers' revamped secondary. He caught 12 passes for 88 yards in the last meeting.
Despite their mediocre offensive performance, the Steelers played a pretty solid defensive game, and if they can get pressure on Bradford, he's going to struggle against them.
Pittsburgh had seven sacks and four unnecessary roughness penalties in their win over the Cleveland Browns last week. Xavier Rhodes is why the Vikings could deal with Brown better than most. The Steelers need him in this one, because the Vikings present a much sterner test than Cleveland. Minnesota is a touchdown underdog to the Steelers. Rhodes is a big physical corner with excellent technique. Minnesota is one of those teams.
The former Northern Colorado quarterback threw for 413 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in preseason, becoming a fan favorite in Denver.
With Bradford showing that type of prowess, Dalvin Cook breaking out in his National Football League debut and the defense playing at that level, there was reason to think the Vikings might be a dark horse in the NFC this season.
Line Play - This game could be decided by which team makes the right adjustments on the offensive line.