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Vikings-Saints matchups to watch: Diggs/Thielen vs. Marshon Lattimore

As the Minnesota Vikings prepare to face off with the New Orleans Saints, we will focus on one key matchup each day. For Part 3, we look at Marshon Lattimore vs. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen…

Way back in Week 1, the Vikings’ tandem of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen showed the world they were going to be a handful as they torched Marshon Lattimore and the New Orleans Saints.

Over the following 15 weeks, Lattimore proved himself to be the next great shutdown corner in the NFL. So this time around, the matchup with have a far different feel.

It’s unclear whether Lattimore will face off with both or shadow one of the Vikings’ receivers. He’s been shadowing No. 1’s lately, but the Vikings have two No. 1-caliber recievers. Let’s have a look at how he matches up with both.

The stats

Lattimore earned high marks from Pro Football Focus, which tracks each throw in his direction. He ranked as the NFL’s fourth best corner behind only Casey Hayward, Jalen Ramsey and Tre-Davious White. The rookie from Ohio State picked off five passes, including one pick-six. The Saints ranked sixth by Football Outsiders’ tracking in total yards allowed per game to No. 1 recievers. The rookie was not completely unbeatable as he allowed 7.3 yards per attempt into his coverage this season.

On the Vikings’ side, Thielen and Diggs were a nightmare for opposing defenses. Diggs ranked ninth and Thielen 10th by PFF’s tracking metrics, making them the highest rated pair in the league.

Thielen had one of the best seasons in franchise history, catching 91 passes for 1,276 yards. He caught 64.1 percent of passes thrown his way.

Diggs missed time with a groin issue, but finished with 64 catches for 849 yards and eight touchdowns. He caught 67.4 percent of passes in his direction.

The skills

The 11th overall player in the draft, Lattimore has an incredible athletic profile. He ran a 4.36 40-yard dash and ranked among the best at his position in the broad jump and high jump. His Draft Profile stated: [Lattimore] has burst and instincts to make plays from any coverage asked of him.”

Both Thielen and Diggs discussed facing Lattimore on Wednesday.

“He’s a good player,” Thielen said. “He’s physical. He can run with anybody. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He’s got great ball skills. He’s pretty much got everything you need to be a really good corner in this league.”

“He’s earned his respect this year,” Diggs said. “His first year, he’s definitely done some great things. The whole [secondary], they made a lot of plays. They have a bunch of interceptions. They get a lot of turnovers.”

Diggs and Thielen have a lot of similarities. They are both uber competitors, they have the ability to line up all over the field and read defenses, they are exceptional route runners and have the hands to make contested catches. Thielen has a little more size than Diggs, which could help him against the 6-foot Lattimore, but Diggs’ ability to get off the line of scrimmage and shake even elite defenders is rare.

The history

Thielen and Diggs went crazy in Week 1. Thielen had nine catches for 157 yards including a 44-yard catch and Diggs grabbed seven passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

The X-factor

The Vikings’ ability to run the ball may determine whether Thielen and Diggs can create big plays the way they did in Week 1. They rank as the seventh best team in the NFL when running play-action, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. Forcing the Saints to move a safety up to the line of scrimmage should the the Vikings’ No. 1 goal because even the best corners struggle against Thielen and Diggs when there is no help from safeties over the top.

  • Marcus Schoenborn

    Saints defense has been allowing 4.4 ypc (4.6 In Away Games) and their safeties are young to shurmur can confuse them and exploit them outside of cam Jordan they’re really ain’t no one else to be afraid of. NO Linebackers Are Average At Best To And kamara Since suffering A Concussion In Week 13 His Numbers Have Went Way Down They Havent Been Running the Ball Well Past few Weeks. I Know with Our Home field Advantage and Our defense we will win saints aren’t as good as they seem they do have holes (unlike MN) lets go get this win and send them home we ain’t in the superdome this time!

    • HeWhoKnowsAll

      Skol to that breakdown.

  • Corn Bread

    Let not forget the most important part of the “torching” last time Matt—the player throwing the ball. I sure Thielen/Diggs can perform the same against Lattimore but without Bradford at QB this comparison is pretty bad and useless.

    • HeWhoKnowsAll

      It’s going to be a lot harder torching Lattimore without Bradford throwing, I think.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Aviante Collins could be the most important player no one is talking about if they line him up at TE once again ~ He could help give Case time to let Diggs and Thielen get fully into their routes while helping open running lanes and picking up blitzes ~

  • O-Whizz

    Lattimore has tiny hands ☺, 6′ is generous and he’s under 200#’s. He gives up a yard more per attempt than Xavier because he gambles that’s how he gets all those picks. PFF is flawed that’s why he rates higher than the All Pro Xavier. Vikes p imp this guy


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