Vikings pick on Rams’ biggest weakness — run defense
The Rams were known to be vulnerable on the ground. Latavius Murray took advantage.
Murray ran for 95 yards in Sunday’s 24-7 win at U.S. Bank Stadium, an individual number eclipsed only by Jacksonville star rookie Leonard Fournette against the Rams defense this season.
“It starts with the offensive line,” Murray said. “No sacks, no turnovers. They were opening holes.”
And Murray was blasting through them.
Murray broke an arm tackle by Rams defender Aaron Donald for a 13-yard pickup early, before he would cross the goal line for a season-high two touchdowns. Los Angeles entered the game as one of the league’s most porous run defenses, surrendering 4.5 yards per carry.
Murray showed just how vulnerable the Rams run defense is, picking up 72 rushing yards on just nine carries after halftime. His second touchdown was the difference-maker. It gave the Vikings a 14-7 lead, only after an official review was needed to see whether he broke the plane. Right guard Joe Berger gave Murray a nudge for the score, which was confirmed by replay.
“We love when Murray gets the ball, because he will get a yard or 2 yards by just getting hit and falling,” tackle Rashod Hill said. “He’s a powerful, big back.”
A loud reception
Crowd noise inside U.S. Bank Stadium succeeded in interrupting the Rams and quarterback Jared Goff, who runs a system requiring a healthy dose of communication at the line of scrimmage. Los Angeles needed to call a timeout early on third-and-10 to avoid a delay of game. Later they took a delay of game on third down.
“A couple of times in some third-down situations when we were in the gun, it did,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of being troubled by the noise. “They definitely disrupt some things, but overall we can never take delay of games and things like that.”
Vikings defenders also noted early issues with communicating defensive checks.
Forbath misses twice
Kicker Kai Forbath said he probably “swung too hard” on his second missed field goal Sunday, which hit the left upright from 39 yards away. Forbath had missed wide right from 48 yards in the first half. The misses proved to be inconsequential but represent a continued issue for the Vikings.
“That’s what hurts the most,” Forbath said. “I always tell myself don’t miss two in a row.”
Two significant streaks end
Defensive end Brian Robison’s 76-game streak ended Sunday when he was sidelined because of a back injury suffered last week. Robison’s impressive streak of being active, starting in the 2012 season, was the longest on the Vikings defense by far. The defense’s longest run is now 39 games, belonging to end Danielle Hunter.
And defensive end Everson Griffen, who returned from a foot injury Sunday, saw his eight-game streak with at least one sack come to an end against the Rams. Griffen was held without a sack, leaving him tied for the eight-game Vikings franchise record along with Jim Marshall and Jared Allen.
• Former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen received a warm reception from the U.S. Bank Stadium crowd as an honorary captain for Sunday’s kickoff. The Vikings’ “Salute to Service” presentation included Major General Jon Jensen from the Minnesota National Guard sounding the Gjallarhorn.
• Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist during the national anthem.