Raiders vs. Vikings: Key Individual Matchups
Linval Joseph vs. Tony Bergstrom
Nov 8, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph (98) celebrates his tackle against the St. Louis Rams in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Starting off with what could be the most important individual battle on either side of the ball, the absence of Rodney Hudson would be a huge loss for the Raiders if he is unable to play.
Hudson has cemented his status as a top five center this season, anchoring one of the best offensive lines in the league. His status is currently listed as doubtful as he nurses an ankle injury.
Tony Bergstrom, who’s claim to fame is being Reggie McKenzie’s draft pick, would get the start if Hudson can’t go. Bergstrom has seen very little action on-field action since he was drafted in 2012, and has only started one time in his four seasons.
Bergstrom’s primary matchup on Sunday would be Linval Joseph, who has been a complete monster all season long.
Joseph has been the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL this season not named Aaron Donald, so Bergstrom will have his work cut out for him.
Where Joseph really has dominated is against the run. Latavius Murray is expected to play, but it’s going to very difficult to get the run game going up the middle without Hudson.
Here are several plays showing Linval against Todd Gurley and the Rams.
It’s been like this all season for Joseph, throwing would-be blockers around, being incredibly disruptive and making plays.
Next: Key Individual Matchup #2