The Minnesota Vikings have a different feel entering their Week Nine matchup against the Atlanta Falcons following the injury to starting quarterback Kirk Cousins on Sunday.
Minnesota was heading in the right direction, with victories in four of their last five outings and four divisional matchups ahead. However, with Cousins done for the year, what can we expect on Sunday?
Here's how the team can get their fourth straight win despite the absence of Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins.
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Strong Offensive Line
The Vikings' offensive line has been playing much better as of late, and they'll need another strong game against an Atlanta Falcons defense that brings the second-most pressure in the NFL, pressuring the opposing quarterback on 29.2% of dropbacks.
David Onyemata leads Atlanta with 12 QB hits, while Bud Dupree holds the team lead with three sacks. His latest sack came last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
With Jaren Hall starting at quarterback, the Vikings need to give him time to process the field and make the right decisions in the passing game.
The Minnesota Defense
The best way for Minnesota to have a chance near the end of this game is to have a stellar performance by the defense. They helped slow down Brock Purdy and the 49ers and had another good game in Green Bay last week.
The Brian Flores-led group blitzes more than any team in the NFL. With a blitz percentage of 52.7%, they're going to try and get pressure on Taylor Heinicke.
Heinicke saw his first action of the season in last week's 28-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He completed 12 of 21 passing attempts for 175 yards and a touchdown.
Minnesota's defense will also need to contain eighth overall pick Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier in the run game. Atlanta has the tenth-highest rushing yards per game, averaging 126.3.
The Vikings made a move for a quarterback before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, bringing in Joshua Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals. Dobbs started all eight games for the Cardinals this season in place of Kyler Murray. He has a completion percentage of 62.8% and has thrown for 1,569 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions.
But it doesn't seem that Dobbs will play in Sunday's game. Instead, the Vikings are planning to play fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall, according to head coach Kevin O'Connell.
Hall completed 26 of his 48 passing attempts in three preseason games. He averaged 88 passing yards per game and threw one touchdown pass and an interception.
If the Vikings are going to win, Hall will need to have a fantastic first career start. He can do this by limiting turnovers and trusting T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison on third down.
I'm interested to see how Hall will play in his first NFL start. It's important to remember there will be mistakes as he adjusts to playing QB at the professional level.
At the time of publishing, the Vikings are four-point underdogs, and are +170 on the moneyline. Vegas doesn't expect a lot of points with the total set at 37.0 -- tied for the lowest of any game in Week Nine.