There will be no shortage of quarterbacks on the 2022 schedule capable of giving the Minnesota Vikings’ revamped defense problems. And no, Aaron Rodgers’ name isn’t listed five times in this ranking of the toughest quarterback matchups.
Games against teams in the AFC East and NFC East, along with a couple of meetings with NFC and AFC South teams, present some interesting challenges next season.
Opposing quarterbacks treated Minnesota’s defense like a doormat in 2021 with the team giving up the fifth-most passing yards on average in games.
However, they’re hopeful a new coaching staff, better pass rush and a reconstructed defensive backfield can make a huge difference when they step on the field this season.
Here are the top-five quarterbacks the Vikings are slated to face in 2022.
5. Week 12, Nov. 24, New England Patriots QB Mac Jones:
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Some of you are probably laughing right now, but trust me, you won’t be laughing once the pads come on for Mac Jones’ second NFL season with the New England Patriots.
The only disappointing part is the lackluster receiving weapons the de facto general manager, Bill Belichick, picked up in the offseason. There’s clearly nothing flashy about Jones’ game, but he’s a smart quarterback that sees the field well and puts the ball where it needs to be.
He earned a Pro Bowl invitation in his first NFL season with 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Not bad for a rookie that was thrown into the fire of an offense with Jakobi Meyers as his best receiving target.
And he’s only going to get better.
Week 4, Oct. 30, Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray:
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There will be no shortage of weapons for Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to light up opposing defenses with next season. Imagine being tasked with defending DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in a pass-happy offense spearheaded by Murray.
Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell will be holding his breath quite a bit on the sidelines in this matchup.
Murray is especially frustrating because of his ability to pick up yards quickly with his legs. At the snap of a finger, a third-and-long can turn into a first down and more if you give him daylight to scramble.
3. Week 1, Nov. 20, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott:
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Things did not end the way Dak Prescott hoped last season, but it still does not change the fact that he had a sensational comeback year in 2021, after suffering a season-ending ankle injury the previous year.
The Vikings missed out on this matchup when they faced the Cowboys in Week 8 last season. It was a forgettable defensive performance where the unit got shredded by backup Cooper Rush in a 20-16 loss at home.
Things will be significantly more challenging when trying to slow down Prescott, who’s coming off a season where he amassed 4,449 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
2. Week 1, Sept. 11, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers:
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A familiar face that Vikings fans know all too well drops in at No. 2 on the list.
Aaron Rodgers has been a perennial thorn in the side for Minnesota in the AFC North. Granted, the Vikings have also been a thorn in Rodgers’ side as well considering they usually play him tough in the head-to-head meetings.
They even split even with him last season with a huge 34-31 victory at US Bank Stadium.
Rodgers will be a year closer to age 40 this season, and he’ll no longer have his No. 1 receiving target, Davante Adams. But the great players always find a way to shine regardless of the circumstances around them, and Rodgers will be no different.
1. Week 10, Nov. 13, Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen:
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Josh Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the league with a growing list of offensive weapons around him. Former Vikings fifth-round draft pick Stefon Diggs will be one of those weapons when the team visits Highmark Stadium in Week 10.
Allen’s overall feel for the offense has transcended anything most expected him to be. He can stand back in the pocket and shred a defense like paper, or he can make plays with his legs and force defenders to come downhill and try to get him to the ground, which is no less of a daunting task.
The Bills were a legitimate Super Bowl contender last season, and that isn’t likely to change as long as Allen keeps making ridiculous plays like this one.
Donatell’s defense will have its work cut out to slow down Allen and the prolific Bills offense.