An Opportunity Awaits Vikings Defense in Week 5

Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) returns an interception for a 66 yard touchdown as safety Harrison Smith (22) follows off a pass by Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Fans will be forgiven if they feel that the Vikings defense has been a touch underwhelming as Week 5 nears.

Indeed, Ed Donatell’s group still has some room to improve. Take a look at some of the notable numbers and the rank in the NFL:

  • 394.5 yards per game, 27th.
  • 263.5 passing yards allowed per game, 26th.
  • 131 rushing yards allowed per game, 23rd.
  • 20 points allowed per game, 12th.

Now, it’s hard to be too negative given that Minnesota is sitting at 3-1, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves by thinking that this is a team with everything figured out. Nay, there’s plenty to be improved on.

Thankfully, the Chicago Bears await in Week 5. Justin Fields – the sophomore QB who was chosen 11th overall in 2021 – has had a rough start to the year. His last TD pass came in Week 1. He hasn’t surpassed 175 passing yards in a game this season. Over these past two games, Fields has been sacked 11 times. He currently has a 58.7 passer rating and a completion percentage that’s below 51%.

On PFF, Fields is the 32nd ranked QB. Only 33 are considered.

Regardless of what has occurred in the opening four weeks, the Vikings’ defense will need to put together a strong effort in Week 5. While it may be foolish to assume Chicago will be an offensive juggernaut, it’d be unwise to completely overlook them as a total non-threat.

Coming into the game, the Vikings ought to make it a priority to shut down the run game. Fields isn’t passing the ball very much, suggesting at least two things: the Bears want to run the ball a lot and they’re struggling to sustain drives. Eliminating their ability to run the ball will make life really challenging for the Bears.

As many have suggested, a Week 5 win would be massive for at least a couple reasons. First, there’s the obvious benefit of climbing to 4-1. Second, there’s the added bonus of having gone 3-0 against opponents from the NFC North.

In so doing, the Vikings would put themselves in a nice position as the season charges toward the midway point. Rather than needing to overcome a bad start, they could work on building off of a great start.

Minnesota will take on Chicago at 12:00 CT on Sunday. The game will be taking place at U.S. Bank Stadium.