PFF Preview: Vikings @ Rams, Week 1
The 2014 season begins for the Vikings and Rams in St. Louis on Sunday. The Rams are coming off of a 7-9 campaign and with the loss of Sam Bradford, will most likely have to lower their expectations for the season. Bradford was looking sharp in the preseason with a +4.1 passing grade before his injury. The Rams will try to ride a strong running game and an excellent front four rotation this season.
The Vikings finished 2013 at 5-10-1 and had a lot of questions at the quarterback position. Matt Cassel won the job over Teddy Bridgewater and put up a +3.4 overall grade in his preseason action. The Vikings will have to hope this holds up as Cassel struggled at times last year finishing with a -3.9 grade in 467 snaps. Here are a few other Players to keep an eye on Sunday:
Adrian Peterson – When talking about the Vikings, Peterson is the first player you have to mention. He made 58 players miss tackles in the run game last year (second to Marshawn Lynch) and ranked first in our Elusive Rating signature stat at 64.6.
John Sullivan – Arguably the best center in the league, he finished the season with six straight positively-graded games. His +20.1 grade finished third at the position.
Jasper Brinkley – One of the stories of Vikings camp was the competition at middle linebacker between Brinkley and Audie Cole. Cole played pretty well in the preseason with nine stops in the run game and a +2.2 overall grade. Brinkley saw more snaps with the starting unit, but his grade suffered (-0.7). The first few weeks will give Brinkley an opportunity to prove himself and solidify his hold on the starting spot.
St. Louis Rams
Ethan Westbrooks – The Rams’ undrafted free agent defensive end was a monster this preseason. His eight stops in the run game and 16.3% Run Stop Percentage paced all 4-3 ends on top of the 13 QB pressures he generated.
Robert Quinn – Quinn’s dominant 2013 season ranks among the highest we’ve ever graded at PFF. His +74.6 overall grade led all defensive ends as did his 15.3 Pass Rushing Productivity mark.
Kenny Britt – Britt struggled mightily in 2013 as his -14.8 grade ranked 109th out of 111 receivers. He reunites with old coach Jeff Fisher this year and flashed signs of his potential in the preseason. His +2.3 overall grade put him right around the Top 10 and he even made a few solid plays as a blocker as well.
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