Here are the three key matchups for the Vikings (9-2) at the Falcons (7-4) NFC showdown at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Falcons WR Julio Jones: Rhodes has played well against Jones in the past two meetings in 2014 and 2015. He won’t shadow Jones all of the game, but will be left with him at times. Jones, the reigning NFC player of the week, ranks second in the league with 1,039 yards receiving. Jones passed the 100-yard mark for the third time this season against the Bucs. Jones has 38 100-yard games, which ranks second in franchise history behind Roddy White’s 39.
Vikings RB Latavius Murray vs. Falcons LB Deion Jones: Murray, who signed in free agency, became the lead back after the season-ending knee injury to prized rookie running back Dalvin Cook. Murray has rushed 130 times for 496 yards and five touchdowns. Jones leads the Falcons with 88 tackles. The Falcons are giving up 4.4 yards per carry and have allowed eight rushing touchdowns. The run defense is allowing over 100 yards a game during its three-game winning streak.
Vikings WR Adam Thielen vs. Falcons CB Robert Alford: Thielen, who played at Minnesota State-Mankato, is having a breakout season nationally. He has 70 receptions for 1,005 yards and three touchdowns. He had 69 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns last season. Alford has the speed to handle Thielen’s crafty route-running. He has 14 pass breakups this season. With Desmond Trufant in the concussion protocol, Alford could be the top corner for the Falcons in this game.
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