Armed & Dangerous Vikings Will Present More Diversified and Bigger Challege for Steelers Defense Than Browns

By Bouchette, Ed | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), September 14, 2017 | Go to article overview

Armed & Dangerous Vikings Will Present More Diversified and Bigger Challege for Steelers Defense Than Browns


Bouchette, Ed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The Steelers defense had a good old time last Sunday. Seven sacks, an interception, booming hits that rattled the Cleveland Browns.

The test will be different this Sunday, when the NFL's big boys come to town. Sam Bradford is no rookie quarterback and, unlike the Browns offense, the Minnesota Vikings have all kinds of talent around him to catch, run and block. They trounced the New Orleans Saints Monday night and are on the oddsmakers' radar to compete for a Super Bowl berth, which will be played in their home stadium in February.

"No disrespect to Cleveland," said Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton, "but they're more explosive. They have a lot more weapons."

What kind? The two receivers with the most yards in the NFL after one week will be on display at Heinz Field. One is Antonio Brown (11 catches, 182 yards). The other is Adam Thielen (9-157) of Minnesota, which also lines up Stefon Diggs (7-93, two touchdowns).

The Vikings don't stop there, because rookie halfback Dalvin Cook ran for 127 yards and a 5.8-yard average Monday night in Minnesota's 29-19 victory against New Orleans.

The Steelers offense has the high-powered reputation; Minnesota's is the one that produced in the first game of the season. It will be up to the Steelers' defense to show that their dominance of the Browns was not just because it came against the Browns.

Bradford earned NFC player of the week after he completed 27 of 32 passes against the Saints for the highest completion rate in the NFL, 84.4 percent. His 346 yards and 143.0 passer rating are second in the NFL. The Vikings had no turnovers. Bradford threw three touchdown passes and was sacked just once for five yards.

"Hopefully, we sack him a little bit more," said defensive end Cam Heyward, who has one of the Steelers seven sacks, second in the league. "I think last year he did a little more dink and dunk. The offensive line blocked pretty well for him the last game. It's our job to get after him. …

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