The Minnesota Vikings are riding high after a big win over the San Francisco 49ers, but they face some new challenges in Week 4. Calvin Johnson is far and away the best receiver they'll have faced thus far this season, and stopping him will be their primary task if the Vikings are to beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday. They're no stranger to him either, as the Lions are divisional rivals.
Johnson caught 10 passes for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns a season ago in two games against Minnesota. The Vikings know that they've got to concentrate on stopping Johnson, and that starts with positioning. Head coach Leslie Frazier had some thoughts on how that might be done, via ESPN Twin Cities:
"He already has the length, so you have to find a way to try to stay on top of routes and not be underneath routes and try to find the ball. You have to be able to put yourself in a position where you can see the ball because if he's in a position where he can see it and you have trouble finding it, his leaping ability, his athletic ability, he's going to come down with it more times than not."
Minnesota will send out Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook, two corners who played against Johnson a year ago. Cook was the primary cover man for Johnson in the past meetings, so there will be a good deal of familiarity there. That said, familiarity with Johnson is not always a good thing. When a guy is as big as Johnson and is still so athletic, you can talk all day about what you need to do to beat him, it's still going to be one of the toughest matchups of the season.