Rams at Vikings. Prior to this season, few would have pointed to this game as a potential playoff preview. But the Rams have sneaked up on all of us and some Vikings fans may not truly understand how dangerous this team can be. To help get a grasp of the league’s most pleasantly surprising team, I asked cover32 Rams managing editor Andrew Kelly a few questions about the front-runners in the NFC West.

The Rams wide receiving corps is essentially made up of unknowns and reclamation projects yet they have been tremendously productive this year. How have the likes of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins become so successful in this offense?

Kelly: The Rams wide receivers have found a way to be successful by playing with each other. Watkins, Woods, and Kupp are all legitimate threats to catch the ball and make plays which gives the defense issues attempting to cover all of them. Along with strong quarterback and a great running back to keep the defense honest, the Rams receivers are set up to succeed.

Jared Goff’s growth from clear bust as a rookie to leading one of the best offenses in football has been arguably the NFL story of the year. What changes have you seen from him with Sean McVay as coach in 2017?
Goff is more confident in year two and is doing a much better job making decisions. McVay has allowed him to do a better job processing the game, taking shots when necessary but not forcing the ball. Goff is also doing a much better job hanging in the pocket, not fading away and forcing himself into pressure.
Who do you favor in the key matchup of Andrew Whitworth vs. Everson Griffen?
In general, I have to go with Whitworth. Griffen may get him once or twice for a big play, but Whitworth is an elite tackle who has given me no reason to doubt him.
The Rams are top-five in rushing yards and rushing attempts per game. The Minnesota defense is second in both rushing yards and yards per attempt allowed. Are you anticipating a more pass-heavy gameplan from McVay or will he stick with what works, regardless of opponent?
McVay will likely look to stick with what works, at least early in the game. In last week’s matchup McVay went away from the run, but not until later in the game when the Texans had proven they could consistently stop Gurley. If the Vikings prove they can stop the run consistently, I would expect a lot of play-action later in the game and Gurley to be incorporated in the pass game instead of the run.
The Vikings interior line has been solid with rookie Pat Elflein at center and Nick Easton and Joe Berger at the guards. But do they stand a chance of containing, by my estimation, the best defensive player in the game, Aaron Donald? 
Simply put, I don’t think anybody can stop Donald. He is the most dominant player in the NFL in my opinion, and Wade Phillips does a great job of scheming to set him up with a good matchup. Even when Donald does not show up big in the stat sheet, he is a force inside reckon with inside.

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– 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

–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for cover32/Vikings. Like and


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