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Ravens vs. Vikings: Key matchups

The defining battles of these two purple squads that may decide the victor

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Following a bye week, the Ravens return to action at home on Sunday against the 3-5 Minnesota Vikings.

Odafe Oweh vs. Christian Darrisaw

Two first-rounders will square off this week when outside linebacker Odafe Oweh lines up against left tackle Christian Darrisaw. Oweh leads all rookies with 24 pressures this season, although he has not recorded a sack since Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Meanwhile, it took until Week 5 for Darrisaw to see the field for the Vikings. Since joining the lineup, the rookie 23rd overall pick has only allowed three pressures. Oweh’s elite speed off the edge will be quite the test for Darrisaw as he protects quarterback Kirk Cousins’ blindside on Sunday.

Justin Jefferson vs. Marlon Humphrey

All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey was tasked with covering rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase against the Cincinnati Bengals and was beaten convincingly as Chase torched Baltimore for 201 yards and a touchdown. Humphrey will look to rebound against Chase’s former LSU teammate Justin Jefferson this week.

Just as Chase is doing this season, Jefferson set the league on fire as a rookie in 2020, making a Pro Bowl and being named a second-team All-Pro after recording 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Jefferson currently has 563 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Even if Humphrey is not tasked with shadowing Jefferson, the two will likely match up on multiple plays anyway.

Baltimore’s front seven vs Dalvin Cook

The Ravens could potentially be without starting nose tackle Brandon Williams against Minnesota while the Vikings will be without starting center Garrett Bradbury. Baltimore’s front seven will be tested against one of the best running backs in the league when they face Dalvin Cook, with or without Williams in the middle.

The Ravens will be without run-stuffing inside linebacker Malik Harrison as well on Sunday, leaving a larger workload for Josh Bynes, Patrick Queen, and Chris Board. If Williams is unable to suit up, veteran Justin Ellis and second-year Broderick Washington will be tasked with filling his void in the center of the defensive line.

Marquise Brown vs. Minnesota’s cornerbacks

Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is in the middle of his best season as a pro and will look to continue on Sunday. Already without cornerback Patrick Peterson, the Vikings listed cornerback Cameron Dantzler as questionable with an ankle injury.

Brown has scored a touchdown in five out of seven games thus far this season to go with 566 receiving yards on 37 receptions while averaging 15.3 yards per catch. Minnesota will likely devote safety help overtop to prevent Brown from getting behind the defense as he has done for most of this season.