Thursday, December 19, 2013
Vikings: Getting to Dalton will be tough
By Ben Goessling
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Coming off his first multi-sack game since Week 4, Jared Allen needs just one more to pass Derrick Thomas for 13th place on the all-time list. He's well aware of the obstacles that could prevent him from getting it this week.
Of the quarterbacks who have played at least 13 games, only Peyton Manning has been pressured on fewer dropbacks than Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, whom Allen and Brian Robison will try to take down Sunday. Dalton has been pressured just 100 times and sacked 27 times in 14 games, according to ESPN Stats and Information. He's also thrown 321 passes in 2 1/2 seconds or less; only Manning, at 326, has gotten the ball out that quickly more often.
"We watched a lot of film and good rushes don't get there," Allen said. "So it's going to be imperative that we are stout on first and second down. When we do get a chance, when coverage does confuse him and he has to pat the ball, we need to make sure we're on a path that can get there."
The Vikings faced a similar problem in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, who used screens to Reggie Bush to neutralize Minnesota's pass rush. The Vikings will have plenty of work to do against Bengals receiver A.J. Green, especially if cornerback Xavier Rhodes (who wasn't practicing for the second straight day Thursday) sits out with a sprained ankle. If Dalton is able to unload the ball as quickly as he's been able to do all year, the Vikings could have trouble bringing him down.
"When you get the ball out as quickly as you do, the rush does not have time to get there no matter if you're bringing pressure," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. "The extra body doesn't have time to get home so he's not taking sacks. He's making good decisions in where he throws the ball and they set it up so he knows the coverage pre-snap. With that, he knows where he's going with the ball, making good decisions. The times you can see where he may not know the coverage, he throws it away."