Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings: Key matchups
Linval Joseph versus Lane Taylor
If Lane Taylor thinks he had his hands full blocking Malik Jackson, Vikings 4-3 nose tackle Linval Joseph won’t be a day at the park either. The 6-foot-4, 329-pound enforcer has come of age under the guidance of Zimmer and established himself as one of the top run-stuffing space eaters in the sport.
By widening his stance and improving his hand usage, the one-time New York Giants’ lineman has become a nightmare to square off against. Joseph is capable of fighting off double-teams, but can also get after the passer as evidenced by his 26 hurries in 12 games in 2015.
Taylor is no slouch when it comes to using his physicality to lock horns with whoever is standing across from him, especially in the running game.
McCarthy didn’t lack any confidence in his new starting guard in the first quarter of last week’s win by calling a 4th-and-1 play that saw Taylor and left tackle David Bahktiari combine to execute as lead blockers on Eddie Lacy’s nine-yard gain.
Outside of that play, Taylor by and large didn’t do anything to draw attention to himself—a good thing—but he did allow three pressures by Jackson, who never came close to sacking Rodgers.
Next: Special teams Week 1 recap
Moving Joseph’s colossal frame will be Taylor’s biggest challenge yet, but facing off with bigger linemen has never been an issue for the fourth-year pro. Picking up blitzes and stunts, however, is a different matter and could be the types of plays that may expose Green Bay’s new starting guard.