I'm excited for this game. Minnesota brings the 6th ranked defense by DVOA into Foxboro to go against the 7th ranked offense. This should be a true test of how good the Patriots can run the ball when fully healthy because Minnesota's rush defense is 4th in the league in rush yards allowed per game. I think they can be thrown on though. Xavier Rhodes injured his hamstring on Sunday night and his status is in doubt while Trae Waynes just isn't that good on the other side. If Rhodes is out, that would figure to have Mackenzie Alexander start in his place. Up front, they are very good with a front four of Hunter-Richardson-Joseph-Griffen figuring to give the OL fits against the pass. Hunter is 2nd in the league in sacks with 11.5. Harrison Smith is one of the best safeties in the league and I wonder if they will use him and Anthony Barr on Gronk. One of the Patriots' deficiencies on offense this year has been 3rd/4th and short conversions and that won't get much better this week. Minnesota has stopped opponents 45% of the time in 3rd/4th and 2 or shorter situations. Brady is probably going to be under pressure most of the day. Their defense is ranked 2nd in the NFL in passer rating against while blitzing at 68.9 while pressuring the QB 30.4% of the time(7th highest percentage in NFL). The Patriots should also pass more on 1st down against this defense as the Vikings are allowing less than 4 yards per carry on 1st down which is top 10 in the league. Offensively for the Vikings, the tandem of Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs is going to be very difficult to deal with. I would think Gilmore would get one of them and they will bracket the other when they are in man coverage. Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook are difficult matchups for the Pats D that John DeFillipo will likely see what other teams have done and scheme ways to get them singled up on LBs and safeties. Latavius Murray had some good games in Cook's absence highlighted by a 155 yard effort against Arizona. Kirk Cousins is having a good year and is coming off a great performance against the Packers where he went 28-for-39 for 342 yards and 3 TDs/0 INTs. He's also been very good while blitzed which is what the Patriots have been doing a lot of this year. The Pats' blitz percentage is 8th highest in the league while Cousins' passer rating is 6th best in the league against the blitz at 83.0. Weather looks iffy but warm. Highs in the 50's but rain is in the forecast.