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Los Angeles Rams vs. Minnesota Vikings: Players to watch revisited

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The Vikings defense solidified itself as an elite defense against the previously unstoppable Rams offense.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams and their offense were riding high as they headed up to Minnesota to take on a equally hot Vikings team. The Minnesota defense left no doubt which unit was better as they stopped the Rams rushing attack and allowed no passing touchdowns on their way to a 24-7 victory. It was a tie game headed into the 4th quarter but LA couldn’t overcome a few self-inflicted wounds and the Vikings offense and defense. Let’s revisit the players to watch.

MLB Alec Ogletree

The biggest thing that stood out to me about Ogletree in this game was how easily RB Jerick McKinnon was able to stuff him in blitz pickup. The Rams had no pass rush all day from anyone not named Aaron Donald and McKinnon being able to stonewall Ogletree played a big part in the Rams rush being negated. Aside from that, Ogletree wasn't as effective as the Rams needed him and the rest of the defense to be in order to stop the Vikings running game as Minnesota went on to have 171 rushing yards. His 11 solo tackles and 1 TFL are a prime example that big tackle stats do not always equal a big time game.

WR Adam Thielen

Thielen came into the game as Keenum’s clear favorite weapon and the NFL’s 5th leading WR in targets. He left the game with the league’s 3rd highest yardage totals for a WR. Contrary to popular belief, the Rams had held Thielen mostly in check until he turned backup to the backup CB Dominique Hatfield inside out for a 65 yard TD in the 4th quarter. Most of his 6 catches and 123 yards came after Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman left for injury but Thielen delivered and proved he’s a bonafide WR1 when the Vikes needed him.

RT Rob Havenstein

Havenstein and the rest of the offensive line couldn’t get anything going for Todd Gurley against the Vikings defensive line. Danielle Hunter took both of Havenstein and Jared Goff for a ride on the first of the two Vikings sacks on the day. That play led to a bad series of events as the Rams were forced to punt from their end zone and give the Vikings the ball at the Rams 30 yard line following a penalty. As a whole, Havenstein held up as well as you could hope for 60 minutes against that caliber of DL but the entire OL definitely struggled in the run game as the Rams finished with 45 yards rushing.

DE Everson Griffin

It was Griffen’s first game in three weeks after an injury and bye week and ended up being a go after a game time decision. The combination of Andrew Whitworth and his back injury led to a quiet day trying to get to Goff but was a major key in helping the Vikings maintain their top rush defense as they held Todd Gurley to 37 yards rushing. Griffen finished with 2 total tackles and 1 TFL.

CB Kayvon Webster

After already losing NRC to injury earlier in the game, Webster went out with concussion symptoms after appearing to get hit by his teammate Ogletree. The two injuries re-shaped the game in the 2nd half as the Vikings pulled away after continually being able to pick on the Rams backup CBs. Though, Webster wasn’t playing the greatest prior to the injury going up against Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell. Webster had 4 total tackles and no pass breakups until he was taken out.

QB Case Keenum

Keenum revenge game was filled with revenge. Keenum didn’t necessarily beat the Rams but rather refused to let the Rams stop him. Avoiding sacks, scrambling, and buying all sorts of time, Keenum was playing as if he had a 6th sense. It should be clear to all Rams fans that Goff wasn’t the only QB to find happiness and success post-Fisher. Keenum played and continues to play some of the best game-manager football the Vikings could hope for. Case finished the day completing 27 of 38 passes for 280 yards and 1 TD.

QB Jared Goff

Goff and the Rams orchestrated one of the best drives of the entire season to open the game as they marched right down the field for their only score of the game. The Vikings quickly adjusted and gave Goff and the offense headaches the rest of the game. Even still, Goff led the Rams on another efficient drive before the half that was undone by a Cooper Kupp fumble. Goff and the Rams never recovered and were left pressing as they gained just 51 yards up until their unlucky garbage time drive with 2 minutes left. For the day Goff went 23 of 37 for 225 yards with no TDs or INTs to go along with 2 sacks. Goff definitely didn’t lose this game but will need to learn what it takes to get his team wins in these types of games. With time.

FS Harrison Smith

Smith proved to be one of the NFL’s best safeties as he continued to lead the Vikings defense while guarding the middle of the field. Crashing down in the run game and breaking up deep passes, Smith was all over the field in ways that his 2 tackle, 2 passes defensed stat sheet wouldn’t show. Robert Woods saved a potential Smith interception when Goff threw a jump ball into triple coverage.

WR Robert Woods

Woods is the Rams bonafide number one weapon, even surpassing Todd Gurley as it currently stands (feels weird but true). Woods reverted back to his chain moving ways in this game against a tough pass defense but still caught 8 of his 11 targets for 81 yards. Woods best play of the game might have been the jump ball breakup mentioned above while the game was still within reach. Unfortunately, Woods suffered a shoulder injury on an awkward tackle late in the game on the Rams last drive.

RB Jerick McKinnon

McKinnon took a back seat to his partner Latavius Murray as far as rushing yards went but still was extremely effective. His biggest contributions of the game had to be the numerous times he stopped Ogletree blitzes dead in their tracks to keep Keenum clean on 3rd downs. While Murray carried the ball 15 times for 95 yards and two TDs, McKinnon saw 14 carries himself but just 48 yards. McKinnon also saw 7 targets but produced just 12 yards on 5 catches.