With this week’s trip to Minnesota the Raiders begin a span of seven weeks in which they will not play a home game in Oakland. The road trip includes stops in London, Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Houston.
Not only will the Raiders be tested physically on the field but they will be tested mentally with all the miles of travel. Things will certainly be more enjoyable if they could rack up a couple of wins.
It won’t be easy this week against the Vikings who have talent all over the place on both sides of the ball and a big time home field advantage playing in US Bank Stadium. Running back, Dalvin Cook leads the league in rushing and the defense has a dominant pass rush lead by Danielle Hunter.
Now let’s see what players and coaches from both teams are saying ahead of their week three matchup.
Head coach Jon Gruden, on what makes facing the Vikings defense a challenge.
“You know, you just watch the Atlanta game and wow it’s 28-0 at the end of the third quarter. Green Bay got a couple scores early. They didn’t make much happen in the second half. They have veteran players and they have high-profile players at every level. It starts with the pass rush. They knock the run out with Linval Joseph and Kendricks, their middle linebacker, and then they give those pass rushers a lot of at bats and they can rip it man. I mean Everson Griffin is back. And Danielle Hunter is one of the best unknown defensive ends in the league, I don’t know why he doesn’t get more credit credibility. (Xavier) Rhodes can shut you down, (Trae) Waynes is a first rounder, and Harrison Smith is a multi-Pro Bowler. They’ve got good players and Zimmer has a scheme they all understand, so they’re tough.
Defensive Tackle Johnathan Hankins, on the Raiders run defense and stopping Dalvin Cook.
“Just you know the technique we been preaching, just getting up the field, penetration, stopping the ball. That’s just what Buck and them came talked to us about in the offseason. That’s what we’re trying to apply on the field. So hopefully we can continue to stop the run and then get after the quarterback.”
“The guy has been averaging 180 yards rushing, that’s going to be a test to us, to go out there and stop that. If we can do that, I feel like we can win this game.”
Vikings Head coach Mike Zimmer, on the similarities between what Paul Guenther runs in Oakland versus what was created in Cincinnati.
“It’s very similar. I think Paul will always have his spin on things, that’s kind of how he’s always been, but I think they’ll be much, much improved. They’ve got much better talent all the way across the board. I think Burfict really helps them get guys lined up and he understands their system so well, but they’ve got good players upfront. They’re much, much improved on the backend in my opinion as well, so yea I think they will continue to get better.”
Vikings wideout Adam Thielen, on Vontaze Burfict.
“I mean he’s someone who you can tell he’s extremely smart, he gets the entire defense lined up, he makes all the checks and things like that. He’s always in the right spot, he’s a fast guy that’s always around the ball and he plays with a lot of effort. He’s one of the better guys at that position and he’s a guy that’s gonna get them in the right spots and make sure they’re not out of position.”