4 projected starters Bengals fans should be worried about vs. Vikings

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Germaine Pratt, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals kick off their 2021 campaign against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 12 at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals have their 53-man roster set and ready to go for when that game finally arrives but not everyone on the team has fans feeling great about how the season could go.

Before we dive into these projected starters, let’s discuss the Vikings for a bit. This is a team that relies heavily on their run game (and why wouldn’t you when Dalvin Cook is your starter?) but make no mistake — Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen can make secondaries pay in an instant.

With all of this in mind, the Bengals’ defense has to play better this year. The run defense was awful last year and there’s a reason the secondary looks completely new. Let’s kick off our list by discussing someone from the lackluster 2020 defense.

4. Germaine Pratt

The Bengals drafted Germaine Pratt in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft and hoped he’d solve their linebacker woes. That hasn’t necessarily been the case so far, however, and this past season saw Pratt grade out at 41.5 by Pro Football Focus.

With Cook set to start at running back for the Vikings, it’s crucial that the Bengals linebackers improve at stopping the run game, something they weren’t great at last year. Pratt plays a huge role in this and given that he hasn’t been someone fans can rely on in seasons past, it’s understandable for some to be skeptical of him in a starting role this year.