It goes without saying that the Oakland Raiders must contain Adrian Peterson to have any chance of victory on Sunday. Don’t let the Vikings’ record fool you. This team is dangerous when Peterson is on his game.
With all the attention Peterson will receive it is easy to forget that the Raiders have their hands just as full on offense when it comes to stopping Jared Allen.
Currently Allen is on pace for a record breaking season that will push Michael Strahan aside for most sacks in a single season. Aside from his sickening sack total, Allen is a bigger menace than O-Dog. No stranger to the Raiders thanks to his days in Kansas City, Jared Allen has long been one of the great defensive disruptors causing havoc and turning hot offenses into hot messes.
Hue Jackson and his staff get major props for how dominating the O-line has been this season. On Sunday it will be crucial for that bullying line to batter Allen. Specifically it will be up to Jared Veldheer to keep contain on the league’s best pass rusher.
Coach Jackson knows keeping Allen in check will require great play from his young left tackle but Veldheer alone cannot do the job. No single man in the NFL is capable of keeping Allen quiet for an entire afternoon of football. That is why Coach Jackson told Steve Corkran that he has put a plan in place to give Allen the VIP treatment.
“He’s going to get special attention. He’s as good as there is in football. The guy has 13 ½ sacks, and it’s not by accident. He makes a lot of stuff happen. We know where he is, we know how he goes about it. He doesn’t make any magical things happen, he just goes and plays extremely hard. What we have to do is get him blocked.”
Veldheer is quietly becoming one of the better young left tackles in the game. His improving strength and technique have been vital to keeping the Oakland QBs clean on Sundays. As well as Veldheer has played he still needs a little help on occasion. In Minnesota you can expect Veldheer to get plenty of help whether he likes it or not. Coach Jackson trusts his mammoth tackle but a little insurance never hurt.
“Sometimes, we’ve left him out there, sometimes we help, sometimes we chip, we do a little bit of it all, because you have to be multiple in pass protections. If you’re not, defensive coordinators are too good. They’ll find other ways to get those great pass rushers matched on people. He’s done a good job.”
Between slowing Peterson and containing Allen the Raiders are going to have to execute their game plan to perfection. On paper the game is very winnable for the Raiders but no NFL game has ever been decided on paper.
Nothing guarantees victory but taking Peterson and Allen out of the game sure would give Oakland much better odds. Now keeping Peterson out of the end zone and Allen sack-free would be a big victory and should be enough to just win, baby!