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With the return of Kevin Williams, the Vikings defensive line returns to the top of its class in the NFL. Going into the game, everybody was so high on Ndamukong Suh and the intimidating Lions front-four, but in the end, it was the Vikings who dominated their opposing offensive line.
DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison got to Matthew Stafford a total of five times in Sunday's game. Up until this game, Stafford had not been sacked even once.
With "The Cowboys from Hell" (thank you, Justin LeClair) coming off the edge and Kevin Williams pushing right up the middle as usual, the pocket was almost non-existent for the Lions throughout much of the game.
Detroit's run game was pretty stagnant as well, as the Vikings defensive line held Jahvid Best to 14 yards on 12 carries.
Far and away the story of this group was Allen, who recorded three sacks and nearly forced Best down in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Instead, Allen slowed down Best until his teammates could bring him down on the 2-yard line, much like he did most of the game. The two plays previous to that huge stop, Allen forced veteran LT Jeff Backus to false start two consecutive times.
Robison had a nice day as well, wrapping up Stafford for two additional sacks. Robison was slightly criticized as a replacement for Ray Edwards, who signed with Atlanta before the preseason. Robison proved exactly why I and the Minnesota Vikings seem to believe he has the potential to be a great edge rusher.
Perhaps the most comforting thing coming off this defensive line was the lack of penalties. Last week, both Allen and Robison made some simple mistakes that certainly worked in the favor of their opponents.This week, however, the studs on this defensive line looked like the most disciplined group of guys on the field—and rightfully so.
The Vikes' D-line played out of their mind against the Lions. They were perhaps the biggest winners in this matchup.