What is it like to face the Vikings? Few Falcons can weigh in on Mike Zimmer’s defense and this particularly rough group of defenders than Matt Ryan, and as you’d expect, he had some nice things to say about the group.
Ryan has faced the Vikings five total times, and in those five matchups, Ryan is 2-3 and the offense has never scored more than 28 points in a single game. In fact, they’ve scored a combined 19 points in their last two outings against Minny, with Kyle Shanahan (2015) and Steve Sarkisian (2017) at the helm. That makes this a tough matchup by any measure.
So here’s what Ryan had to say. First, he gave one of his famously boilerplate answers about the offense and how they’ll fare, which I include because I am collecting a library of these for a quilt after Ryan makes the Hall of Fame.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re playing in the NFL. It’s tough every week.”
When asked specifically about facing a Mike Zimmer defense, though, Ryan had a more detailed, complimentary answer. The key takeaway is that the Vikings are not a defense that wins via finesse, but by absolutely beating you into the ground.
“Number one, they play physical across the board. Defensive line, second level, secondary, they all play physical. They’re solid tacklers, they do a nice job within their pressure package to give you a bunch of different looks, stress your protections, so we’ve got to be on top of that.”
The big takeaway for Sunday, then, and the reason the Falcons spent so much time beefing up the offensive line?
“We’ve got to play physical.”