The Rams have a tough matchup coming up on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. In order to truly understand what the Rams will be up against, I talked with managing editor of cover32.com/vikings, Sam Smith.
1) What do you believe would need to happen on Sunday for Keenum to be benched in favor of Teddy B?
“I have been in favor of the philosophy of Keenum remaining the starter for the season unless he completely implodes. But given that Bridgewater started warming up Sunday after Keenum’s second interception, it appears the leash is much shorter than that and this is truly a week-to-week thing. I believe that there very well could be a hook if Keenum has another multi-interception game, if he starts consistently missing passes or if they have a few three-and-outs in a row. I do not agree with it but the coaching staff for whatever reason seems less committed to Keenum than his 5-2 record as a starter says they ought to be.”
2) What is one area that the Vikings will have to perform well in (that typically is not there strongest aspect) in order to win?
“The Vikings do not have many weaknesses but their production in the running game has left something to be desired. Part of that is due to the injury to Dalvin Cook but part of it is also the interior line’s run blocking. Rookie center Pat Elflein and inexperienced guard Nick Easton have been very good in pass pro but their ability to get movement up front on running plays has been somewhat lackluster. Since they will be going head-to-head against arguably the best defensive player in the league in Aaron Donald, something is going to have to improve dramatically if they have any hope of establishing a consistent rushing attack and play action game.”
3) What makes you most nervous about the way the Vikings match up with the Rams?
“Twofold. One, while they are a great defense, Minnesota is coming off their worst defensive performance just in time to take on the number one scoring offense in the league. The pass rush should be better with Everson Griffen coming back but giving up 30 to Washington does not bode well leading up to playing the Rams who have had three monster games in their last three weeks.
The other worry is Aaron Donald. The guy is a wreaker of havoc and the Vikings weakest area is interior line. Keenum works the pocket well but for the most part that has been with pressure coming off the edge. He has not had to deal with a dominant pass-rushing defensive tackle yet and Donald is as good as they come.”
4) What is your prediction for Sunday, how do you think this game will shake out?
“In my estimation, these are two of the four best and most complete teams in the NFL, along with New Orleans and Philadelphia. It really could go either way. I believe the Rams will get off to a hot start, go into the half with the lead but the Vikings will clamp down in the second half and pull out a narrow win with a last-minute field goal on their home turf. But these teams are virtual equals. Prediction: Vikings 27, Rams 26.”
Sam is predicting a tight game on Sunday, and I certainly feel the same way. Thanks to Sam for his time, and be on the lookout for more preview articles in the coming days!
– Andrew Kelly is the Managing Editor for cover32.com/Rams and covers the Los Angeles Rams. He also writes national and fantasy content for cover32. Like and follow on Follow @Andrew_K47 Follow @cover32_LAR