There is one specific area in which the New England Patriots should be able to effectively attack the Minnesota Vikings defense in their Thanksgiving night matchup. And if it wasn’t clear before, it certainly is now.
The Vikings announced defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson would be inactive for their matchup with the Patriots at US Bank Stadium. That is not good news for a team who has perhaps the worst weakness possible on the defensive side of the ball.
Minnesota’s defense ranks last in the NFL in opponents’ touchdown percentage (20 touchdowns against in 28 trips, 71.4%) in the red zone. Without Tomlinson, and with New England at full strength with Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris in the backfield, the Patriots should have a much easier time in the red zone than they have in past weeks.
And that would be a welcome development, because New England usually stinks inside the 20-yard line, ranking 31st in the NFL in terms of touchdown percentage (12 in 28 trips, 42.9%).
It’s even better when you consider who is out for New England. Starting offensive linemen David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn are both out Thursday night, meaning the Patriots need all the help they can get in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball. The defensive side is a different story, as the Vikings are down to a backup tackle as well, with Christian Darrisaw also inactive.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET.