3 key matchups: Falcons at Vikings

Oct. 11, 2020 - Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24) tackles Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) after a catch in the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Here are three key matchups to watch when the Falcons and Vikings meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis:

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. Falcons CB A.J. Terrell: The two met in the college national championship game in January, and Jefferson won the battle. He caught 9 of 12 targets for 106 yards. Terrell returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list last week against Carolina and had a strong outing. He has been a bright spot in the Falcons' shaky secondary. He has 14 tackles in three games.

Vikings SS Harrison Smith vs. Falcons TE Hayden Hurst: Smith has 23 tackles, two quarterback hits, a tackle for loss and one interception, the 24th of his career. Smith is a five-time Pro Bowler. Hurst needs to step it up. He’s caught 15 of his 28 targets (53.5%) for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He’s caught seven passes for first downs. Former Falcons tight end Austin Hooper caught 71% of his targets in 2019 and 75% in 2018.

Vikings DE Yannick Ngakoue vs. Falcons RT Kaleb McGary: Ngakoue, who forced his way out of Jacksonville and was traded to the Vikings, has a team-leading five sacks. McGary, who missed one game with a knee strain, has allowed only one sack. He’s played 233 snaps and does not have a penalty.

Falcons' next four games

Falcons at Vikings at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18al trial

Lions at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday Oct. 25

Falcons at Panthers at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

Broncos at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

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