Troy Dye Might Be Key to Sunday Success

Aug 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings nose tackle Jordan Scott (66) celebrates his interception with linebacker Troy Dye (45) during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Football is all about matchups. Indeed, one of the most fascinating parts of this team game is that success and failure largely hinges on the individual battles that take place on the field. Don’t believe me? Go back and re-watch our Week 1 game against the Bengals. What happened when Cincinnati got the matchup they wanted on Bashaud Breeland? Go ahead and see for yourself:

Kyler Murray is difficult to contain. The defensive line will need to be disciplined in how they pursue the QB. If they take bad angles, it’s going to be a long day.

That being said, I’ve got my eye on how Zim uses his LBs to try slowing Kyler. Initially, my belief was that Eric Kendricks would be responsible for slowing Arizona’s dynamic young QB; to my small football mind, using Kendricks as a spy on Kyler makes some sense. An injury, though, threatens his availability for the game. If he can’t go – especially if Barr is also out – then Minnesota will be relying on depth LBs to get the job done. Oh, and one more thing: Nick Vigil was also on the injury report this week.

I say all that to say this: it’s very possible that Troy Dye may end up being key to the Vikings on Sunday. Allow me to explain myself.

Our sophomore LB had a nice preseason. In fact, one might even be inclined to say it was a really good preseason. It’s looking increasingly likely he’ll have a chance to show what he can do in a meaningful regular season game.

The first thing one notices about Dye when he’s on the field is his length. He’s tall and lean. In other words, Dye is built like a modern-day linebacker. His payer profile over on PFF suggests he’s 6’4, 226. Partner that with some good speed and it’s conceivable that Dye may be relied upon to spy Kyler from time to time. His tackling was noticeably better during the preseason. Coming out of college, it looked like he’d be better suited to pass coverage than run defense. He appears to have improved as a run defender, which may get put to the test this Sunday.

Now, if Kendricks is able to go (or Barr, for that matter), I expect Zim to put the burden on his stud LB. Dye may the next man up, though. Nick Vigil played well last week, but I’m not sure if he’s up to the task of sticking with Kyler (few are). Dye may not be either, but his length/speed combo at least suggests that the potential is there.

Don’t be surprised if Dye ends up being a big part of the game plan.

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